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Feds Charge Bay Area Contractors With Conspiracy Over Bid-Rigging Scandal

Lawrence Berkeley Lab's Wang Hall

The federal government indicted several Bay Area contractors on Thursday in an alleged local bid-rigging scheme. Federal prosecutors charged Oakland-based Turner Group Construction chief financial officer Len Turner; chief operating officer Lance Turner; and Taj Reid, son of Oakland city councilman Larry Reid, with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Energy, the East Bay Times reports.

The charges relate to an alleged bid-rigging scheme in 2013 over a renovation project at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. The Turners and Reid are accused of offering to bid high so another developer, who was actually an undercover FBI source, could win the renovation bid.

The Turners, who have been involved in several large projects in the Bay Area, including the restoration of the Fox Theater, were charged with one count of conspiracy each. Reid also was charged with conspiracy, and four other Bay Area contractors were accused of various indiscretions related to the project's bidding process.

Pleasant Hill resident Eric Worthen, a former official of the California Department of Veterans Affairs, also was accused of taking $12K in bribes from the undercover source. Prosecutors assert Worthen and Reid provided the FBI source with an inside advantage on the construction of two CalVet projects in Ventura and a home remodel in West Los Angeles. Worthen and Reid received three bribery counts each.

This undercover FBI source also was involved in the indictments related to the public corruption investigation involving former state Sen. Leland Yee, local political consultant Keith Jackson and Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow that spanned from 2012 to 2014.