The owner of a Lancaster construction company schemed with a minority-owned business in Niagara Falls to claim they were working together to meet state requirements about women/minority hiring for a major construction project, according to the New York State Inspector General.
Christopher Nichter, 57 - the owner of Nichter Construction - is charged with ten counts of offering a false instrument for filing. William McClendon, 41 - owner of McClendon Asphalt Paving - is charged with one count of offering a false instrument for filing.
According to investigators, Nichter and his office manager, Angela Quinn, filed documents with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York falsely claiming that McClendon's company - which is minority owned - did work on a construction project at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.
As part of his $350,000 contract with the state, Nichter was required to have at least 13 percent minority business participation on the project. Investigators say Nichter recruited McClendon to be the project's minority business partner and promised him a fee to act as a "pass through," but McClendon did no work on the project, said the NYS Inspector General.
Quinn, Nichter's office manager, is charged with two counts of offering a false instrument for filing.
"This law was enacted to give minority and women-owned businesses an opportunity to take part in these state-funded projects in an effort to increase diversity, so it's frustrating that a minority-owned business would allegedly agree to lie and not do the work for a pay out," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.
All three defendants were arraigned in Buffalo City Court Friday morning. They could face up to four years in jail on each count if convicted.
7 Eyewitness News also found out that McClendon's business lists a false address on Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls. According to a business tenant at McClendon's "so-called" listed address in the Falls, mail for McClendon Asphalt Paving is constantly "returned to sender" and frequent callers for the paving company are informed that the number listed online for the paving company is incorrect.