Attorney General Todd Rokita reached a settlement with two Indianapolis-based construction companies, resolving an antitrust investigation and lawsuit for allegedly scheming to “fluff” up bids on a commercial construction job. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana approved an agreement between the State and Andrews Construction Co. and Huffer Construction Co. The agreement forbids the companies from carrying out similar schemes in the future and ensures fair competition and bidding processes for construction projects in the state.
Last September, the two companies placed bids on a commercial real estate construction project in Indianapolis. The complaint filed by the Attorney General stated that after both companies had completed a walkthrough of the construction job, they worked together to raise the price of the contract bid: Huffer would place an artificially high bid to make Andrew’s bid more enticing. Huffer’s bid was nearly $21,000 more than Andrews, who ultimately won the contract. Huffer was then allegedly paid a $2,000 kickback out of Andrew’s bid price for inflating the company’s bid.
The agreement requires that both companies not engage in any similar schemes, contracts, or other conduct that restrict free competition. They also must not provide any non-public information regarding bids or quotes for any such contract work to any competitors. The companies may not offer or accept anything of value in exchange for an agreement to limit a bid or to agree to not bid at all. Andrews and Huffer are ordered to pay a combined amount totaling over $18,000 to the State of Indiana and the Attorney General.
This resolution is part of Attorney General Todd Rokita’s continuing effort to protect Hoosiers from unfair business practices and to ensure consumers are always paying a fair price.