Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION COMPANY AND EXECUTIVE PLEAD GUILTY TO PARTICIPATING IN BID-RIGGING CONSPIRACY

On March 6, 2008, Alliance Mechanical, an Arizona commercial refrigeration company, and Kendall Pope, president and co-owner of the company, pleaded guilty for their role in a conspiracy to rig bids on contracts for the installation of commercial refrigeration equipment in Safeway Inc. grocery stores in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Alliance Mechanical and Mr. Pope pleaded guilty to the following actions involving commercial refrigeration installation projects at Safeway grocery stores where allegedly: they discussed among themselves the submission of bids; they agreed to allocate bids among themselves according to which company had a maintenance agreement in place at a particular grocery store; solicited other individuals to join and facilitate the conspiracy; designated which company would submit the low bid and submitted a rigged bid; and accepted payment from Safeway for work done as a result of the conspiracy.

This is the second case to arise from this investigation. On June 27, 2007, James Govostes, a former refrigeration company manager, pleaded guilty to conspiring to rig bids submitted to Safeway Inc. grocery stores in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Mr. Govostes was sentenced on Feb. 28, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and to serve four months of home confinement and 36 months probation.

The investigation into the commercial fridgeration industry is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Field Office and the FBI’s Phoenix office.


Andre Barlow

(202) 589-1834
abarlow@dbmlawgroup.com