On September 29, 2005, Woodson & Associates, Inc., a Florida electrical contractor, was charged with conspiring to rig bids with respect to construction contracts in support of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (“EELV”) program supported by the U.S. Air Force. According to the one-count felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court in Orlando, Florida, Woodson allegedly participated in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition from at least March 1998 until June 2002 by rigging a series of bids on electrical construction contracts with regard to the EELV program at Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (“CCAFS”). Woodson agreed to plea guilty and pay a criminal penalty of $175,000.
Woodson was charged with carrying out the conspiracy with its co-conspirators, by, among other things:
- attending meetings and engaging in telephone conversations during which it discussed the submission of prospective bids on contracts with respect to the EELV program at Space Launch Complex 37 at CCAFS;
- agreeing during those meetings and telephone conversations not to compete on certain projects at Space Launch Complex 37; specifically Raytheon Engineers and Constructors, Inc. (“Raytheon”) Project 7158 (“Underground Duct Bank”), and Project 7501 (“Fire Alarm and Smoke Detection Systems”);
- agreeing during those meetings and telephone calls not to compete by designating Woodson the successful bidder on those projects; and
- submitting bids to Raytheon on Projects 7158 and 7501, which contained false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and entries.
The charge and plea agreement demonstrates the Antitrust Division’s resolve to prosecute corporations that allegedly take part in collusive cartels rather than independently compete. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Atlanta Field Office, with the assistance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Inspector General, and the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations.