Federal Prosecutors Investigating Adams County Paving Scandal

CALL7 Investigators Broke Stories That Led To State Charges, Federal Investigation

Federal agents are investigating the public corruption and paving scandal in Adams County, including focusing on the former public works director and county commissioners, CALL7 Investigators found.

Sources confirm that the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office are discussing whether former Public Works Director Lee Asay will be indicted and whether it will on the state or federal level.

"The discussion now is when and where," one source told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia.

A second federal investigation is looking into favors and gifts possibly given to commissioners in exchange for favorable consideration on county contracts, sources said. That investigation is in the early stages.

The federal investigations and state charges were sparked by a series of CALL7 reports, starting in 2008, that showed millions of dollars in no-bid county contracts given to Quality Paving. The investigation also uncovered gifts given to and work done on the homes of Asay and Sam Gomez, who at the time was the county's contract manager. Both men were forced to resign after the CALL7 Investigation reports.

Gomez, another county worker, and four former Quality Paving officials and workers were charged in the scandal. Two have already pleaded to lesser charges and four, including the company's former president and owner, face trial in coming months.

Court records obtained Friday also show Adams County District Attorney Don Quick is consulting with the U.S. Attorney's office on the case.

He met with federal prosecutors in February to discuss the county paving scandal his office is prosecuting and mentioned that he ran into two key Quality Paving executives at a county commissioner's house, a motion Quick filed shows.

"When meeting with the United States Attorney's Office on February 25, 2011 about the case, DA Quick also informed the federal prosecutors" of his contact with Quality Paving officials, the motion said.

One of the former Quality Paving employees charged in the case, Louie George Schimpf, is trying to disqualify Quick, saying he might be a witness in the case and has a conflict of interest.

The conflict surrounds a statement in court from former Quality Paving president Dennis Coen, saying Quick was at Adams County Commissioner Alice Nichol's house in 2008 when Coen and Quality Paving owner Jerry Rhea stopped by to give Nichols $10,000 in cash. The cash was to pay back $10,000 she and her husband paid to have Quality Paving install a driveway at her house in 2005, Coen testified.

Quick filed a motion arguing he should not be disqualified and asking for a judge to decide that question. He said he was at Nichol's house to drop off football raffle tickets for a Democratic fundraiser and did not know about the alleged payment, the motion says.

In the motion, Quick notes he mentioned running into Coen and Rhea at Nichol's house to sheriff’s deputy investigators in 2008 and to federal prosecutors on Feb. 25, 2011. The motion does not say why he was meeting with the U.S. Attorney in February.

Asay, who could not be reached for comment, has not been charged in the case and Quick’s spokeswoman said Thursday that the investigation into the scandal is continuing. She confirmed Friday that Quick met with federal prosecutors concerning this case but could not give further details about the joint investigation.

Jefferson County prosecutors are investigating whether there were improprieties with the $10,000 payment to Nichols.

A hearing on Quick’s motion to remain on the case is set for September.

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