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Authorities allege 2005 ‘small business person of the year’ bribed Army officials, inflated costs

• Steve Schmadeke, Chicago Tribune
A Mokena businessman whose 10-year-old Chicago construction firm has been awarded more than $45 million in federal contracts is under investigation for allegedly bribing two Army officials and improperly inflating the costs of hurricane-protection work his company did on a New Orleans-area levee.

Samuel Zepeda Jr., who received the 2005 Illinois "small business person of the year" award from a federal agency, allegedly paid a married couple who held top Army contracting positions as much as $270,000 to bolster his new company's prospects, according to recently unsealed court records.

He has not been charged. Federal authorities are examining bank records and six years' worth of contracts Zepeda's company, Vistas Construction of Illinois, and two related companies received as part of an investigation into possible contract fraud, bribery and wire fraud charges, records show.
. . .
that the Army's contracting director there, Kenneth Nix, had allegedly been receiving cash payments from Zepeda's associates, the affidavit said.

Nix, a retired captain, resigned from his civilian position with the Army last year and now works directly for Zepeda, according to the affidavit. His wife, Velma Salinas-Nix, is a top civilian contracting official at Fort. Sam Houston in Texas.
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Federal authorities allege Nix and his wife awarded contracts not only to Vistas but also to companies owned by Zepeda's relatives and associates.
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1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

Hey Obama, here's a nominee to head the TSA. How did you overlook this guy?

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