Questions raised over border wall contract awarded to small startup
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Questions are being raised about a small Nebraska company awarded the first construction contract for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE's long-promised border wall.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Nebraska-based SWF Constructors, which won an $11 million federal contract in November as part of a project to replace a roughly 2-mile stretch of border fencing in California, is the offshoot of a New York-based firm with a history of allegedly failing to pay subcontractors.

SWF is owned by Coastal Environmental Group, a construction firm based in Edgewood, N.Y., that has been sued multiple times for refusing to pay subcontractors, the AP reported. The Interior Department also found $2 million in questionable spending from the company in a 2016 audit.


The findings of that audit should have led to Coastal Environmental Group being flagged as a problem company but it was not, according to the AP.

SWF was listed on the bid for the border wall contract, rather than Coastal Environmental Group. Richard Silva, who is listed in government documents as the primary point of contact for both companies, did not return the AP's requests for comment. 

Coastal Environmental Group was sued by the federal government in 2011 on behalf of a subcontractor, Enviroworks Inc., which alleged that Coastal had failed to pay nearly $400,000 in labor and equipments costs and broke a profit-sharing agreement. That lawsuit was settled in 2015, according to the AP. 

The federal government also sued Coastal in 2014 on behalf of another subcontractor, SF Marina Systems. That lawsuit accused Coastal of failing to pay SF Marina $175,000 for construction costs.

The AP noted that the roughly 2-mile stretch of border fencing in California is a sliver of Trump's broader proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.