RDC Properties Limited (RDCP.bw) listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange under the Property sector has released it’s 2010 interim results for the half year.For more information about RDC Properties Limited (RDCP.bw) reports, abridged reports, interim earnings results and earnings presentations, visit the RDC Properties Limited (RDCP.bw) company page on AfricanFinancials.Document: RDC Properties Limited (RDCP.bw) 2010 interim results for the half year.Company ProfileRDC Properties Limited is a property management, development and rental company in Botswana. It also has interests in Madagascar through a Mauritian-based subsidiary. The company develops and manages commercial, industrial and residential developments which are based in prime locations in major towns and cities of Botswana. RDC Properties Limited offers long-term value to its shareholders through construction income, rental income, hospitality income, capital appreciation and the sale of premium properties. Landmark properties in its portfolio include Masa Centre, Standard Chartered House, Chobe Marina Lodge and Isalo Rock Lodge. RDC Properties is investigating investment opportunities to expand its footprint in South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.
3 income stocks to buy for a Stocks and Shares ISA The Motley Fool UK’s Top Income Stock… We think that when a company’s CEO owns 12.1% of its stock, that’s usually a very good sign.But with this opportunity it could get even better.Still only 55 years old, he sees the chance for a new “Uber-style” technology.And this is not a tiny tech startup full of empty promises.This extraordinary company is already one of the largest in its industry.Last year, revenues hit a whopping £1.132 billion.The board recently announced a 10% dividend hike.And it has been a superb Motley Fool income pick for 9 years running!But even so, we believe there could still be huge upside ahead.Clearly, this company’s founder and CEO agrees. Rupert Hargreaves owns shares in the Scottish American Investment Co. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Rupert Hargreaves | Saturday, 8th May, 2021 | More on: III SCAM SSE Learn how you can grab this ‘Top Income Stock’ Report now Enter Your Email Address Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Any income or capital gains earned on investments held within a Stocks and Shares ISA are tax-free. In my opinion, that makes these wrappers the perfect vehicles in which to hold income stocks. And with that in mind, here are three income stocks I’d buy for my Stocks and Shares ISA today. 5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Income stocks to buy The first income stock I’d buy is SSE (LSE: SSE). This utility company is moving to become a renewable energy champion. The firm is looking to invest several billion pounds over the next few years, tripling its renewable energy output by 2030.Not only should this help build the company’s earnings over the next few years, but it should also future-proof the business and its dividend.At the time of writing, the stock offers a yield of 5.7%, and it looks to me as if this yield is here to stay as the firm invests for the future. The main risk to the dividend is the potential for overspending. If SSE ends up splurging on assets that don’t earn a decent return, the firm may have to cut the payout to fill the hole. Even after taking this risk into account, I’d buy the shares today. Stocks and Shares ISA buy The second company I’d acquire for a portfolio of income stocks is the trust, Scottish American Investment Co (LSE: SAIN). This investment firm owns a portfolio of global dividend stocks, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and UPS, among others.What I like about this trust is that as well as income, it targets growth. So, while the company’s 2.5% dividend yield might not be the highest on the market, the potential for capital growth makes up the difference.The trust has returned 81% over the past five years, excluding dividends, although investors should never use past performance to guide future potential. The one downside of this approach is the cost. Scottish American charges an annual fee of 0.7%. Another challenge is the risk that the trust’s investment manager might pick the wrong stocks. This could hurt performance and is probably the biggest challenge of investing in actively managed funds. Still, I’d buy the fund for my portfolio, considering its income and growth potential. Economic recovery The final stock I’d buy for a Stocks and Shares ISA is 3i (LSE: III). This firm has two main business divisions, private equity and infrastructure. The private equity operation focuses on managing assets, mainly other businesses, to produce high returns.Meanwhile, its infrastructure division owns and operates infrastructure assets intending to produce steady returns. I think this combination of businesses is the perfect mix to capitalise on the economic recovery over the next few years. This is the primary reason why I’d buy the income share for my Stocks and Shares ISA. It currently offers a dividend yield of 3.3%, and the stock has the potential to produce some capital growth as well over the next few years. 3i is also exposed to some unique risks. For example, it may suffer if governments decide to nationalise the group’s infrastructure assets. Another wave of coronavirus could also hurt returns from the private equity business. Even after taking these risks into account, I’d still buy right now. Image source: Getty Images See all posts by Rupert Hargreaves
ArchDaily CopyAbout this officeLuigi RosselliOfficeFollow#TagsProjectsBuilt ProjectsSelected ProjectsResidential ArchitectureHousesDabasSydneyHouses3D ModelingAustraliaPublished on September 10, 2012Cite: “Balcony Over Bronte / Luigi Rosselli” 10 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 11 Jun 2021.
Home Indiana Agriculture News HAT Market Analysis for 2/5/21 with Bob Utterback SHARE Facebook Twitter Facebook Twitter Previous articleDrought Concerns Remain in Northern IndianaNext articleUSDA Extends General Signup for Conservation Reserve Program Andy Eubank HAT Market Analysis for 2/5/21 with Bob Utterback By Andy Eubank – Feb 5, 2021 SHARE Audio Playerhttps://hoosieragtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Utterback-markets.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Friday ag markets ended mixed and in some cases close to unchanged. Positioning continues ahead of the USDA supply and demand report Tuesday. In his analysis, Bob the bear Utterback is sounding pretty bullish right now. Click to listen.
Nikki Spellmanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/nikki-spellman/ Twitter Tadeas Paroulek Photo by Jack Wallace Nikki Spellmanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/nikki-spellman/ Linkedin Twitter Nikki Spellman ReddIt + posts TCU baseball finds their biggest fan just by saying hello Men’s tennis dominates Tulsa 7-0 TCU rowing program strengthens after facing COVID-19 setbacks Nikki Spellmanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/nikki-spellman/ Men’s tennis continues win streak, defeats USF 6-1 Linkedin Nikki Spellmanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/nikki-spellman/ Facebook ReddIt Another series win lands TCU Baseball in the top 5, earns Sikes conference award Previous articleAddRan announces new deanNext articleTCU, SMU students collaborate on app for students, businesses Nikki Spellman RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR printTadeas Paroulek Photo by Jack WallaceTCU men’s tennis earned its second top-10 sweep of the weekend Sunday as the Horned Frogs took down No 6 Texas A&M in their final game of the ITA Indoor National Championship, 4-0. The win gives TCU a 2-1 record on the weekend and its 40th all-time win over Texas A&M. TCU leads the all-time series, 40-16, including a run of seven straight that dates back to 2015. “We came in after three tight losses, not playing our absolute best, and we had a choice,” head coach David Roditi said. “We were either going to rise up to the challenge, or not, and we did.” For the third time this weekend, TCU started the match by winning the doubles point. The Horned Frogs faced tough doubles matches as all three teams were behind a break after three games, but the team rallied back and claimed wins on courts two and three. The No. 2 team of Sander Jong and Tadeas Paroulek buckled down and won their match 6-3. Luc Fomba and Bertus Kruger were behind on court three but broke back to hold serve and win 6-4. Fomba and Kruger are now a team-best of 6-1 this season in doubles. The No. 34 pair of Alastair Gray and Jacob Fearnley were behind 4-5 when play was suspended once the Frogs clinched the doubles point. The effort from doubles play carried over into singles as the Horned Frogs claimed three straight wins. Sander Jong was the first to finish at the No. 6 position with his third singles win of the weekend. He defeated the Aggie’s Guido Marson 6-3, 6-2. Jong is now 4-2 on the season. Fomba continued his hot play on the weekend as he defeated No. 34 Juan Carolos Aguilar 6-0, 7-6(5). One point into the second set (6-0, 1-0), Fomba had won 19 of his last 20 games dating back to his match against NC State. The match was clinched on court three where Jacob Fearnley showed mental toughness to battle back from losing the first set 1-6, to defeat his opponent in the third set, 1-6, 6-2, 7-5. “We learned this week about what works for us and the mindset that we need to give ourselves the best chance to win,” Roditi said. “Jacob Fearnley specifically won the match because of that mindset. I’m happy for him to get that feeling of clinching a big match.” Kruger and Paroulek were also in third sets when play was suspended. Gray was also in the middle of his match against No. 14 Hady Babib in the second set. “I’m excited to get back on the practice courts and get ready for the outdoor season,” Roditi said. The Horned Frogs travel to Dallas to take on SMU, Saturday at 2 p.m.and return home to take on USF, Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Facebook Men’s tennis continues sweep streak with win over SMU Men’s tennis continues win streak with wins over No. 14 Ole Miss and No. 8 Stanford
Joey Pizzolato is the Online Editor of DS News and MReport. He is a graduate of Spalding University, where he holds a holds an MFA in Writing as well as DePaul University, where he received a B.A. in English. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in a variety of print and online journals and magazines. To contact Pizzolato, email [email protected] The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Tagged with: Bloomberg Video Spotlight About Author: Joey Pizzolato Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: LoanCare Renews Black Knight Contract Next: Continuing the Legacy Through past purchases, the Fed now owns over a quarter of the $6.86 trillion mortgage-backed security market. But, as it intends on reducing its balance sheet in the coming future, what could be some of the potential risks for the market? One analyst from Bloomberg has an idea. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Related Articles Sign up for DS News Daily Share Save What’s in Store for MBS? Print This Post The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / What’s in Store for MBS? Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago August 11, 2017 4,582 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, Media, News Bloomberg Video Spotlight 2017-08-11 Joey Pizzolato Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Subscribe
Google+ Previous articleCouncil is write to Health Minister over lack of stroke unit at LUHNext articleMajor jobs boost could be on route for Inishowen News Highland Facebook WhatsApp Community Enhancement Programme open for applications Facebook News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th WhatsApp Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Donegal homeowners criticised for recycling across the border Pinterest AudioHomepage BannerNews Pinterest Twitter Twitter Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic A former Strabane Councillor has hit out at homeowners from Donegal availing of recycling facilities in the Derry City and Strabane District area.Patsy Kelly says its deeply unfair that ratepayers in Strabane and Derry have to foot the bill for recycling goods being brought across the border to evade charges in Donegal.He believes it is an issue that should be looked at on a cross Council basis:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/pafgdfdgdfgtsy1pm.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. By News Highland – January 28, 2020 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Google+ Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows
ConstructioncorruptionDevelopment Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink (Illustration by Chris Koehler)In New York City’s $45.3 billion construction industry, it’s a network of middlemen that choreographs the rise of buildings. From supply companies to electrical workers, developers rely on a consortium of professionals to assign contracts and oversee the flow of millions of dollars — sometimes with little to no oversight.“There are hundreds and hundreds of products, hundreds of different workers on the job. It’s a large undertaking,” said Barry LePatner, a construction attorney and founder of LePatner & Associates. “The owners have a tremendous amount of difficulty tracking the costs.”Both the scale of construction projects and the number of different players involved can put developers in a vulnerable position. For instance, a property owner may pay $300 for a light fixture that cost a construction company half that. Or a subcontractor may charge a developer for seven dumpsters for a demolition project versus the four that are actually used.In isolation, overbilling schemes like that are barely a line on a developer’s cost sheet. But compounded, such incidents can balloon into far-reaching cases of graft.In October, state officials raided the offices of Turner Construction and Bloomberg LP as a part of an alleged overbilling scheme that may have resulted in the media company overpaying for renovation work by $1 million at its 731 Lexington Avenue headquarters. The crackdown was reportedly part of a broader probe into a suspected $100 million worth of construction fraud — the details of which remain behind closed doors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Meanwhile, last month, Mo Vaughn and Eugene Schneur’s Omni New York accused two of its property managers of conspiring with a Brooklyn-based construction supplier to jack up prices for certain materials by as much as 66 percent. And the Related Companies filed a suit against the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, also last month, alleging that the union helped inflate construction costs at Hudson Yards by more than $100 million.But these cases aren’t one-offs. Some of the city’s top general contractors — including Tishman Construction (now AECOM Tishman), Plaza Construction, Hunter Roberts Construction Group and Lendlease — have paid millions in fines and penalties related to major fraud charges over the last three decades. And unions, too, have increasingly drawn ire for allegedly driving up developers’ expenses through what some see as tedious work rules. Brian FieldsInterior work, property management and ground-up construction jobs involving project labor agreements have proven particularly fertile ground for accusations of corruption. That’s due in large part, experts say, to industry-wide inertia. Smaller contractors and property management firms lack the infrastructure to monitor their employees and third-party contractors closely, while deep-pocketed construction companies emerge from scandals virtually unscathed.“The industry at large needs to own it, which it hasn’t done,” said Blake Coppotelli, a managing director at risk management firm the Freeh Group and a former prosecutor with the Manhattan DA’s office. “The industry doesn’t self-police. The pleas, the penalties, the conviction itself ends up being a business expense.”Twice bittenAll it takes to bring the police to the door of a multibillion-dollar company is a few rogue employees. In the case of Turner and Bloomberg, investigators believe certain subcontractors conspired with four executives — two from each firm — to secure renovation work at the financial news and information company’s headquarters, according to the New York Times. In exchange, the Turner and Bloomberg executives allegedly inflated the cost of the contracts.Industry spectators who spoke to The Real Deal chalked it up to a few bad actors, and a spokesperson for Turner said in a statement that it’s “a shame that a few rogue employees may have acted in a non-compliant and criminal manner and tarnished the image of the companies they worked for and the industry as a whole.”This, however, isn’t the first time Bloomberg has found itself at the center of an overbilling scheme. In 2014, the media giant’s former general contractor, Structure Tone, pleaded guilty to falsifying business records. Although Structure Tone admitted to faulty record keeping, the DA’s office had accused the firm of defrauding various clients, including the media company. What’s striking is that Turner and Structure Tone happen to be the two most active general contractors doing alteration and renovation work in New York City. Between January 2012 and March 2017, the firms worked on $2.6 billion and $1.9 billion worth of projects, respectively, according to an analysis by TRD.Interior work is a market unto itself, most recently comprising nearly 18 percent of construction spending in the city, according to the latest numbers from the New York Building Congress. The industry is also a nerve center of sorts, as several different trades — plumbing, drywall, electric, etc. — come together to work on such projects.With so many moving parts, including multiple subcontractors involved in individual projects, “there’s no way to protect 100 percent that a plumber isn’t giving a kickback to someone,” said one Manhattan developer who asked not to be named. “It’s impossible.”The lack of cost transparency is one of the biggest enablers of such schemes, according to developers, contractors and legal experts interviewed by TRD. Most active developers have a good grasp on the cost of materials or services, but an office tenant doing a renovation may lack the same knowledge. In addition, because of the competitive nature of the business, many contractors initially lowball their bids to secure work and make up for the difference by overbilling, said LePatner, who recently launched a business that is aimed at revealing market prices for building materials.As a result, several of the corruption investigations since the 1990s have focused on subcontractors because those firms “provide a window into peer-corruption and kickbacks,” Coppotelli said.The head of one major subcontracting firm in New York said he didn’t think subcontractors were disproportionately implicated in fraud cases. “Everybody gets blamed. It’s a very complicated process,” he said on condition of anonymity. “I feel a lot of times that owners only look at price, and they don’t look at the quality of the company, the safety and the compliance programs.”Lou ColettiBut when it comes to interior work, there’s a relatively small pool of companies equipped to do high-end office renovations and build-outs, said Bruce Maffeo, an attorney with Cozen O’Connor and a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. While a conviction may give a prospective client pause, it’s often not enough to convince the client to take a chance on a lesser-known contractor.“That’s a hard risk to sell,” Maffeo said. “They don’t want to see corruption, but they don’t want to have slipshod construction in their flagship space.”Coppotelli said that in turn, smaller and mid-level contractors tend to suffer the most following convictions because they can’t bounce back as easily from hefty fines. During Coppotelli’s tenure as chief of the DA’s construction corruption strike force from 1997 to 2001, five companies admitted to their roles in a $2 billion bid-rigging scheme in which general contractors and subcontractors paid bribes to secure renovation work for Sony, Morgan Stanley and other major clients. Construction consulting firm Bennis & Reissman closed down soon after its guilty plea, and interior contractor AJ Contracting filed for bankruptcy (though Conde Nast would later hire one of Bennis & Reissman’s founders, Robert Bennis). Structure Tone, another one of the firms that pleaded guilty in the scheme, paid a $10 million fine but then continued to grow its business, maintaining its throne as one of the largest interior contractors in the nation.Structure Tone is not the only major firm that’s rebounded from scandal. Lendlease — the third most active contractor in ground-up projects — paid a $56 million fine as part of an April 2012 settlement regarding claims that it paid bogus overtime to workers on various projects, including the renovation of Grand Central Terminal. And before Tishman Construction was acquired by AECOM in 2010, it paid more than $20 million in fines after officials claimed the company overcharged for work on One World Trade Center, the Jacob K. Javits Center and other projects.“The larger ones that have been caught up in these investigations end up surviving because the industry and clients don’t hold them accountable,” Coppotelli said.Property mismanagementOn the whole, property management has come a long way from its rampant kickback schemes in the 1990s, when authorities charged more than 80 property managers and companies with extorting millions from contractors in exchange for work. As more luxury condos and rentals proliferate throughout New York City, management firms have become more professionalized. And landlords are increasingly seeking third parties that offer concierge-like services over someone who just coordinates repairs. These days, it’s the less corporate property managers — which lack the same level of oversight as some of the city’s top companies — that often find themselves at the center of scandals. The managers deal directly with decision makers in various city agencies and oversee the work when subcontractors are hired to do repairs and inspections on the sites they manage — all of which has repeatedly proven problematic.Coppotelli explained that situations where two third parties work together — a property manager and a subcontractor hired to do construction work, for instance — can be especially susceptible to corruption. As a result, bribery is pervasive in the property management industry. Late last year, investigators untangled a messy web of such construction-related schemes. During a 15-month investigation, authorities found that property owners, managers and others paid a Brooklyn gas company to illegally deliver gas to properties that didn’t have city approval to receive it. The probe unveiled an “underground, shadow utility” within the Brooklyn Union Gas Company and found that the firm set up illegal gas meters and, in some cases, dug up city streets to work on gas mains without authorization. As a result, 36 people, including eight of the company’s former employees, were arrested in January 2017.A court-ordered wiretap helped expose the scheme, which inadvertently revealed three other construction conspiracies and resulted in the arrest of 11 property managers in October. In one of the instances, two Brooklyn-based property managers allegedly paid off an inspector to falsely certify that seven properties in Brooklyn and Queens were asbestos free. Instances of corruption also occur when landlords manage their own properties. For example, in May 2017, landlord and property manager Herman Epstein — who ranked among the top 20 worst landlords on the Public Advocate’s annual list in 2015 — was sentenced to up to six years in prison for bribing New York City Department of Buildings officials to remove complaints, violations and stop-work orders at his properties. He was one of more than 50 people charged in a broader bribery investigation that involved $450,000 in bribes connected to 100 residential and commercial properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. At the time, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance called him a “serial briber.”Last year’s convictions of Epstein and other property managers were orchestrated by the DA’s office and the Department of Investigation. And two years earlier, Vance launched the Construction Fraud Task Force to target a laundry list of shady practices in the industry — including bribery, extortion, larceny and bid rigging — thanks in large part to the high volume of construction in the city. However, due to a number of ongoing investigations, including the Turner case, the DA’s office declined to comment for this story. The DOI declined to comment as well. There’s also a long history of organized crime involvement in such schemes — and it hasn’t completely disappeared. In March, two contractors — one of whom was described as a “mafia soldier” for the infamous Genovese family — were indicted for allegedly rigging contracts for plumbing, HVAC and sprinkler work at a luxury residential building in Brooklyn. And graft still creeps its way up to larger firms. In Omni’s recent suit against its longtime building materials supplier, Berkoff Supply, the affordable housing developer alleged that Berkoff routinely inflated its prices. The supply company is accused of scheming with an employee of the landlord’s property management arm, Reliant Realty Services, and another Omni employee to increase the cost of products by as much as 66 percent. In one instance, Berkoff charged Reliant $81.51 for each stair tread it ordered when the supplier charged others $48.95, the lawsuit claims. The ploy was discovered by an Omni employee who had previously worked in law enforcement. 731 Lexington AvenueOmni is seeking at least $1 million in damages. While the landlord and its subsidiaries claim to have ordered roughly $500,000 worth of materials from Reliant since 2010, the lawsuit doesn’t specify how much Berkoff allegedly stole. Representatives for Omni declined to speak about the case, and Berkoff didn’t respond to multiple messages seeking comment.When it comes to overbilling schemes, some say developers are also responsible for monitoring their own flow of cash and flagging something that might look suspicious. “If [the bill’s] way out of whack, the ownership should be questioning it. That’s legitimate,” said Subcontractors Trade Association Executive Director Hank Kita. “Any subcontractor, if they are quizzed by the construction manager or owner on the price of materials, everybody I’ve dealt with from my organization would be pretty straightforward.”He added that owners sometimes don’t factor in the cost of transporting or storing materials, which may lead to some misunderstandings over line items on a bill. Still, that’s not always the case. “As in any business, there’s a small minority who think that they can get away with taking bribes,” LePatner said.Blame it on the coffee boysIn March, a subsidiary of Related Companies filed a lawsuit against Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and its president, Gary LaBarbera, alleging that the union’s labor policies drove up costs at Hudson Yards by more than $100 million. The bills were increased, for example, by having two higher-ranking union members of the Concrete Workers District Council serve as “coffee boys” — roles that are usually filled by the most junior members, according to the complaint. They were supposedly paid $42.48 an hour, plus $27.39 worth of benefits, to deliver coffee to workers on the site.The litigation springs from an ongoing dispute between the BCTC and Related over the developer’s decision to go open shop for 50 Hudson Yards and the remaining second phase of the 26-acre megaproject. William Wachtel, an attorney for Related, said the company prefers to hire union labor on a trade-by-trade basis rather than work through the BCTC. “The simple fact is, dealing directly with unions and their leadership is a healthier relationship than working through someone like Gary LaBarbera,” Wachtel said. “He’s got a job to do, but that job is old school, and it’s time for people to realize that the new approach is the only way we’re going to put life back into unions.”In response to Related going open shop, the BCTC has called for all unions to refuse work at Hudson Yards, the lawsuit claims. The trade group has also questioned the timing of Related’s lawsuit.“This complaint asks us to believe that for six years, [Related] did nothing to curtail practices they believed to be corrupt and these allegations piled up until this complaint was filed,” a representative for the BCTC said in a statement. “If the bizarre allegations are to be believed at all, this also means that Related sat idly by while contractors were overbilling them.”Related flagged these issues earlier, albeit not publicly, Wachtel said. The developer initiated the legal battle primarily because of LaBarbera’s efforts to deter all unions from working at 50 Hudson Yards. More claims may be on the way, he noted.The attorney said that publicly challenging the BCTC over issues would have likely resulted in delaying the project and possibly even in retaliation from workers. Often when issues arise between an owner and the construction team on a project, they are resolved quietly. The developer usually can’t afford to wage a legal fight that could delay construction. “If you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and you feel like you don’t like the direction the ship is going in, you usually don’t complain too much because the water is awfully deep,” Wachtel said.Related’s claim isn’t uncommon. Many developers have had disagreements with unions over project labor agreements — a collective bargaining contract that ensures the use of union workers on a project. The subject has gotten a lot of attention lately due to the financial woes of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Housing Authority. A New York Times report late last year showed that the prominence of certain trade groups and excessive staffing was at least partially to blame for the ballooning costs of transit projects in the city. Meanwhile, NYCHA spent $341 million from 2014 through 2017 on overtime costs required by labor contracts. Though the agency’s head, Shola Olatoye, is fighting to change some of the union rules, she doesn’t have the backing of City Hall, Politico reported.“Whether a result of fraud, or simply incompetence, or the self-destructive rules that we impose on our public agencies, the cost of construction on public projects in New York is truly astronomical,” said Seth Pinsky, executive vice president and investment manager at RXR Realty. “It’s not that fraud is viewed as a cost of doing business, but losses and inefficiencies are certainly viewed too frequently as a cost of doing business in New York, especially in the public sector.” He added that although a half percentage lost here or there may not always get caught, “the absolute dollar amounts that are being lost in those circumstances are meaningful,” especially when dealing with multibillion-dollar projects for cash-strapped agencies.Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, attributes many developers’ grievances over cost to the inability of some unions to find lower-level workers to join projects. To become more competitive, some groups, including the New York City District Council of Carpenters, have tried to create blended-rate workforces, meaning they bring on more employees who are paid less than highly skilled journeymen. Coletti said these cost-saving strategies aren’t always achieved because the unions have a difficult time finding workers to fill those lower-rate slots. “That’s not a lack of transparency. That’s a lack of ability to carry out some of the new cost reduction strategies that may have been adopted,” Coletti said. “I think people use transparency as a catchall for every issue under the sun.” Checks and balancesLong before Structure Tone’s 2014 guilty plea, the company had been revamping its compliance programs, according to the firm’s CEO, Bob Mullen. He noted that the case referred to actions in 2005 through 2009 that largely sprung from record-keeping issues that were rectified by — among other things — establishing dozens of different “control points” where employees have to document every interaction with clients regarding the project. The company also hired a chief ethics and compliance officer, Brian Fields, the following year. Every employee goes through compliance training, which uses the firm’s “anti-corruption manual.”Mullen said that some clients were a bit gun-shy following the 2014 case, but Structure Tone was able to maintain those relationships. “Some clients, especially those with big internal compliance departments, certainly put us through rigorous, thorough review processes,” he said. “In some cases, it took well over a year to get through that.”Many construction companies have a system of stops in place to prevent issues such as overbilling from slipping through the cracks.Joseph Aiello, COO of Broadway Construction Group, said that his Manhattan-based construction management company assures that change orders and payments are overseen by numerous parties and that owners are directly part of the process.“Some companies run things through a purchasing department, so it only goes through one set of hands, which I don’t think is a good practice,” Aiello said. “There always needs to be checks and balances. The more people who touch a document, the more honest and transparent you are. It’s more difficult to get multiple people to collaborate in corruption than one guy.”When a company is able to show that it has controls in place, it’s less likely that it will be dragged through a criminal case. Instead, investigators will home in on an individual or small group of people who circumvented the company-imposed rules or regulations. Such is the case with Turner, which is being considered a witness in the DA’s investigation, according to its spokesperson.The Subcontractor Trade Association’s Kita said that the overbilling scheme seemed to be a case of a few “bad apples,” but would still, at the very least, induce self-reflection among both construction companies and developers.“There’s a human factor in this particular case. These were folks who were in cahoots with each other, and they got away with it for a while,” Kita said. “But they were eventually caught, and I think that’s a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of doing something like this.”Fields and Mullen pointed out that construction management doesn’t exactly have industry-wide regulations for how to run a project. Beyond building codes and zoning rules, there isn’t a step-by-step “playbook” for construction firms. “You look at the financial services companies. They have robust compliance. How much of that is internal desire, and how much of it is external pressure?” Fields said. “Here in construction, there is no external pressure. It’s all internal.”
Oxford students have reacted angrily to the University’s announcement that former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is to assume the role of Vice-Chancellor following the departure of incumbent Andrew Hamilton in December.Mr. Clarkson, who was dismissed from his job at the BBC last month following a scuffle with a producer, is to take up the Vice-Chancellorship in January 2016. A University spokesperson yesterday evening confirmed that talks with the controversial former television personality had been finalised. Justifying the decision, the University said in a statement, “We need a twenty-first century leader for a twenty-first century university. By taking on Jeremy, we are breaking with the outdated image of stuffy academic elitism, and opening up our University to the world.”The spokesperson added, “We believe he will bring all that is best about modern Britain to our ancient institution.”Oxford students have responded with exasperation to the news. OUSU campaigner Hathan Fakehurst told Cherwell, “I fail to see how taking on a rich, white man with a history of questionable and controversial gaffes sufficiently reflects Oxford as a 21st century institution trying to break with the past.”Likewise, former LMH JCR President and student campaigner Amber Cecilé remarked, “The implications for access and outreach are clearly far-reaching. Given his history, what sort of message is Clarkson’s appointment going to send to minorities and oppressed groups considering applying?”But speaking exclusively to Cherwell, Clarkson retorted, “In the course of my discussions with the University, we have found that our thinking converges in many key policy areas, not least fossil fuel divestment and staff relations.”He added, “It’s worth pointing out that taking this role is quite a pay drop for me. Let’s put it this way — you could put about 1500 bright, underprivileged kids through a year of uni on what I was getting at the Beeb, compared to a mere 50 with what I’ll be getting in the VC role. That being said, I did have to work 30 times harder when I was with Top Gear. I’m looking forward to the lighter workload.“Also, let’s not forget that Oxford is an absolute nightmare when it comes to driving. I can’t exactly open up my Ferrari’s throttle on Turl Street. I’ve basically taken this job out of a sense of civic duty. The sole consolation, really, is that I’ve been promised a daily supply of steak, and that the staff here will know precisely what to expect if it isn’t done properly.”The University declined to comment on specifics of the negotiations.Cherwell understands that Cecilé and Fakehurst are jointly organising a campaign against Clarkson’s appointment. A petition is expected to be opened for signing by the end of the week, and the pair intend to bring the matter before OUSU Council. OUSU President Louis Trup is expected to make a statement on the issue later today.Amid the fracas, the Oxford Union has unexpectedly waded into the fray, seeking to distance themselves from the controversial appointment. A spokesperson told Cherwell, “The Oxford Union feels that it must condemn the engagement of such an inflammatory personality. We’re highly concerned that the adoption of Mr. Clarkson into a permanent executive position in the University with which we share our name will make many of our members feel thoroughly distressed and uncomfortable.” A minority of students have responded more positively to the news, however. Oriel finalist Nick Hutch commented, “If it’s keeping him off the air, I just can’t understand why Oxford’s lefties are so up in arms. Personally I’m looking forward to seeing his unique brand of humorous ribaldry coming into play around Oxford. We need to attract the right talent to the job, after all. Worth every penny!”The BBC declined to comment on the announcement.