Fire-Debris Companies Investigated in San Diego

October 27, 2009

Federal authorities are investigating two companies that charged the city of San Diego $9.4 million to haul away the remains of over 100 homes charred by wildfires two years ago.

A.J. Diani Construction Co. of Santa Maria and Watsonville-based Granite Construction Co. are the subjects of the criminal probe by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In a series of reports, the San Diego Union-Tribune found that Diani and Granite removed questionable quantities of debris, overcharged for materials, billed for work they didn’t perform and provided receipts that didn’t back up their charges.

Granite says it is cooperating with the government. A spokesperson for Diani could not be reached for comment.

If investigators find criminal fraud, taxpayers could recoup some of the money paid to the companies.

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