Four former employees at Michael Bloomberg’s financial media juggernaut have been indicted in an alleged multimillion-dollar kickback scheme where lucrative construction projects were awarded to contractors bidding to do work on Bloomberg offices, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation told BuzzFeed News that a grand jury returned indictments on charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. The four are expected to be arrested some time this week.
Those charged include two senior Bloomberg LP executives and two lower-level employees. One of these former employees is Anthony Guzzone, Bloomberg’s former global head of construction.
"We thank the Manhattan District Attorney's office for uncovering this scheme and for their diligent work and partnership on this investigation," Bloomberg LP spokesperson Ty Trippet told BuzzFeed News. "This sends a strong message to contractors in New York who engage in fraud: You will be caught."
The charges are the culmination of a more than yearlong investigation. In February 2018, the New York Times reported that New York State police and investigators from the Manhattan DA’s office raided Bloomberg headquarters in Manhattan, demanding access to the offices of Guzzone and another top executive. Investigators left with computers. After the raid — which also included the executives’ homes — they were fired.
Guzzone and others were under investigation for allegedly inflating the costs of interior work contracts at Bloomberg properties, then taking a cut of the inflated fees paid by contractors who were in on the scheme.
"Mr. Guzzone has had an unblemished life and a distinguished career. We will fight any allegation against him," Alex Spiro, Guzzone’s attorney, from the law firm Quinn Emanuel, said.
The news of these charges and the imminent arrests of his former employees comes as Bloomberg is reportedly weighing a decision on whether or not to run for president in 2020.
Three former employees of Turner Construction were charged, a source told BuzzFeed News, and one entered into a plea agreement.
“Turner has been proactively cooperating with the DA’s investigation since the start. Turner has not been, and will not be charged, and will not be paying any fine. The company only wishes that it had caught these people on its own,” Thomas Curran, a partner at Peckar and Abramson, which represents Turner Construction, said.
Former workers from at least one subcontractor, a Queens-based metal and glass company that did work on Bloomberg properties, were also charged. The company didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan DA declined to comment about the pending indictment.
The investigation is being coordinated by the New York State Police and the Manhattan DA’s office, a law enforcement source confirmed.
A spokesperson for the New York State Police also declined to comment.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan DA’s office declined to confirm the exact amount of money linked to the alleged scheme. The Times reported that Bloomberg overpaid by $1 million, and that the February 2018 raids were tied to a broader investigation that could involve fraud totaling up to $100 million.