Jeffrey Lazar, Todd Phillips, Steven Halper and Steven Wasserman — stole at least $30 million from 1998 to 2010.
The four men, who worked at the Lehr Construction Corporation, routinely inflated mechanical, electrical and other subcontractors’ costs by 10 percent to 13 percent on office projects they supervised, according to an indictment unsealed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Lazar's father, Gerald, and uncle, Howard, both Lehr execs at the time, were busted in 1998 on bid-rigging charges.
The two pleaded guilty to first-degree commercial bribery. Howard was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison, Gerald received a conditional discharge, and Lehr continued operations under a court-instated monitor.
The indictments are part of a widening investigation by the district attorney into the city’s multibillion-dollar interior-construction industry. It is the second time in 13 years that executives at Lehr, which at its peak had roughly $500 million a year in billings, have been charged with fleecing their corporate customers, and the third corruption case involving a member of the Lazar family, which founded Lehr.
In the late 1990s, when the interior construction industry was plagued by scandals, Lehr Construction was investigated for its role in a bid-rigging scheme, and its owners pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with the case. But the plea agreement allowed the firm to avoid any charges, according to The New York Times.
Among those charged 13 years ago were Gerald Lazar and his brother, Howard Lazar, who together ran Lehr Construction. They pleaded guilty to bribery and paid $3.3 million in restitution. Howard Lazar, who pleaded guilty in the 1970s to attempted bribery of city construction inspectors, served a short prison sentence and was forced to leave the industry. In a plea deal, Gerald Lazar was allowed to continue running Lehr.
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