Former Director of MassDOT Worcester Office Sentenced in Connection with Illegally Awarding State Contracts
Found Guilty on Conflict of Interest, Procurement Fraud Charges
WORCESTER – The former director of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) Worcester Office has been sentenced in connection with awarding lucrative state snow and ice removal contracts in which he had a hidden financial interest, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.
“This defendant was convicted by a jury for exploiting his position within MassDOT by scheming to illegally award contracts based on his own financial interests,” AG Coakley said. “He undermined the integrity of the process that ensures that contracts are awarded fairly to those who best meet the criteria of review.”
Today, in Worcester Superior Court, Judge Daniel Wrenn sentenced Thomas Waruzila, age 62, of Worcester, to two years in the House of Correction, suspended for three years, with GPS monitoring for the first year. The Commonwealth recommended that Waruzila serve one to two years in state prison, followed by three years of probation, and pay a $10,000 fine.
On June 9, following a nine-day trial, a Worcester Superior Court jury found Thomas Waruzila guilty on the charges of Conflict of Interest (2 counts) and Procurement Fraud (3 counts).
From approximately 2000 to 2011, Waruzila was District 3 Highway Director in MassDOT’s Highway Division which oversees the maintenance, repair, and construction of the Commonwealth’s roads, bridges, and tunnels. As director, Waruzila oversaw the entire operation of District 3 in Worcester.
In November 2011, a statewide Grand Jury returned indictments against Waruzila, Dean Gleason, the MassDOT Snow and Ice Engineer for District 3, his brother Anthony Gleason, a MassDOT Civil Engineer for District 3, and Quang T. Do, a family friend. The other three defendants have similar charges pending against them.
The AG’s Public Integrity Division began an investigation into Waruzila’s activities after the matter had been referred by MassDOT in the fall of 2010. In September 2009, Do was awarded a lucrative Snow & Ice Removal contract for his front-end loader that was financially beneficial to Waruzila.
MassDOT contracts with outside contractors or vendors who own the appropriate equipment to clear the roads. When a storm occurs, the contractors’ equipment is dispatched to a location called a “pit,” a MassDOT location where the salt, sand, and other materials needed to clear the roads are stored and where the trucks come for refills.
Investigators discovered that prior to the start of the winter season in 2009-2010, the District designated one of the snow and ice pits located in Littleton as a full-time pit. That action opened up a new slot for a privately contracted front-end loader. Waruzila, allegedly with Anthony Gleason, obtained a front-end loader in the name of Quang T. Do for the purpose of receiving the new contract. Do’s name was used to hide the financial interest of Waruzila. Waruzila, allegedly along with Dean Gleason, then awarded Do the contract despite the timely bid of a more senior MassDOT contractor. During the relevant time period the responsibilities for snow and ice removal, including the awarding of positions, fell to Dean Gleason.
Authorities later discovered that Waruzila was also, allegedly along with Anthony Gleason, involved in obtaining another truck and calcium tank in the name of Quang T. Do. That equipment was likewise awarded a contract in District 3 for snow and ice removal during the winter season of 2010-2011.
A Statewide Grand Jury returned indictments against Waruzila and the other defendants in November 2011 and they were arraigned in Worcester Superior Court in December 2011. On June 9, a Worcester Superior Court jury found Waruzila guilty. He was sentenced today in Worcester Superior Court by Judge Wrenn.
The charges against the other three defendants are pending. Anthony and Dean Gleason are set for trial on Oct. 27 in Worcester Superior Court.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jim O’Brien, Chief of the AG’s Public Integrity Division and Assistant Attorney General Greg Friedholm, also of the AG’s Public Integrity Division, with assistance from Financial Investigator Bryan Freitas, Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy, and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab. It was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office. Assistance was also provided by MassDOT.
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