Faustin Denis is on trial for racketeering and fraud. Nevertheless, the company he works for just received a huge landscape contract from the city of North Miami, Florida.
In a four-to-one vote, IMECO, Inc. was awarded a $270,000 contract for a streetscape project. Denis is the general manager of IMECO; the owner of IMECO is John Denis, Faustin Denis’ brother.
John Denis was at the council meeting where the vote was taken. “He forcefully defended his brother and the company, and told us not to cast aspersions,” said Councilman Scott Galvin, who cast the lone dissenting vote.
The racketeering and fraud charges stem from deals made by Faustin Denis as the owner of the APAC Group. From 2004 to 2008, APAC received over $22 million in contracts from the city of Opa-Locka, Florida, to do street and sidewalk repairs and maintenance. The State Attorney’s Office alleges that APAC got those contracts via a money-laundering and bribery scheme dreamed up by the city manager of Opa-Locka and a city engineering consultant. The city manager and the consultant then demanded kickbacks from Denis in exchange for the contracts.
“Mr. Denis was unlawfully compensated in Opa-Locka construction projects through his business, by securing contracts through low bids and subsequent fraudulent change orders,” according to the complaint.
Prosecutors allege that APAC won contracts by putting in unreasonably low bids that didn’t accurately reflect actual costs. Once the jobs began, Denis would submit change orders that hiked the prices anywhere from 150 to 200 percent. That money went into the pockets of Denis and other members of the fraud ring. Several other city contracts were also involved.