Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Is Timothy Kuebler?

Florida Governor-elect Rick Scott named his economic transition team. An interesting name on the list is Timothy Kuebler, the Senior Vice President, Titan Florida Cement and Aggregate. Before Kuebler was pouring foundations in Florida, he was part of the management team of Builder's Concrete and Supply Co. Kuebler's profile on the Titan Florida Cement web site confirms this.

Builder's Concrete and Supply Co. was one of five concrete companies in Indiana that was caught in a price fixing scheme. The federal government prosecuted the executives of these companies.

1. For purposes of this Plea Agreement, the "Relevant Period" is that period from in or about July, 2000 and continuing until May 25, 2004. During the Relevant Period, the defendant was a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Indiana with its principal place of business in Fishers, Indiana. During the Relevant Period, the defendant was a producer of ready mixed concrete and was engaged in the sale of ready mixed concrete in the Indianapolis, Indiana metropolitan area and elsewhere. Ready mixed concrete is a product whose ingredients include cement, aggregate (sand and gravel), water, and, at times, other additives. Ready mixed concrete is made on demand and, if necessary, is shipped to work sites by concrete mixer trucks.

2. During the Relevant Period, the defendant, through some of its officers and employees, including high-ranking personnel of the defendant, participated in a conspiracy with other persons and entities engaged in the production and sale of ready mixed concrete, the primary purpose of which was to fix the price of ready mixed concrete sold in the Indianapolis, Indiana metropolitan area. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendant, through its officers and employees, engaged in conversations and attended meetings with representatives of other ready mixed concrete producers in the Indianapolis, Indiana metropolitan area. During those meetings and conversations, the defendant and its co-conspirators reached agreements to fix the price at which ready mixed concrete was to be sold in the Indianapolis, Indiana metropolitan area.

3. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendant's President on at least two occasions hosted meetings among the conspirators at which prices, discounts, and conditions of sale for the metropolitan Indianapolis, Indiana area were discussed and agreed upon by the defendant and its coconspirators. Those meetings were held in a horse barn located adjacent to the defendant's President's home on property he owns in Fishers, Indiana. The defendant's President also made numerous telephone calls and participated in several meetings among smaller numbers of individuals to ensure the compliance of his coconspirators with the conspiracy agreements. In addition to the defendant and its President, more than five individuals associated with the defendant's corporate coconspirators participated in the conspiracy on behalf of the companies they owned or by which they were employed.

4. During the Relevant Period, the corporate conspirators purchased substantial quantities of equipment and supplies from outside Indiana which were necessary to the production and distribution of ready mixed concrete. During the Relevant Period, the business activities of the corporate conspirators who produced and sold ready mixed concrete affected by this conspiracy were within the flow of, or substantially affected, interstate trade and commerce. Below are the facts of the case listed in the Justice Department plea agreement.

5. Acts in furtherance of this conspiracy, including the conspiratorial meetings and conversations described above, were carried out within the Southern District of Indiana. In addition, sales of ready mixed concrete affected by this conspiracy were made by one or more of the conspirators to customers within the Southern District of Indiana.

Kuebler is named in the plea agreement.

13. The defendant will cooperate fully and truthfully with the United States in the prosecution of this case, the conduct of the current federal investigation of violations of federal antitrust and related criminal laws involving the manufacture and sale of ready mixed concrete, any other federal investigation resulting therefrom, and any litigation or other proceedings arising or resulting from any such investigation to which the United States is a party ("Federal Proceeding"). The ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of the defendant shall include, but not be limited to:

1. producing all non-privileged documents, including claimed personal documents, and other materials, wherever located, in the possession, custody, or control of the defendant, requested by attorneys and agents of the United States;

2. using its best efforts to secure the ongoing, full and truthful cooperation, as defined in paragraph 14 of this Plea Agreement, of the current and former directors, officers, and employees of the defendant as may be requested by the United States, but excluding Gus B. Nuckols III, a/k/a Butch Nuckols, John Blatzheim, and Timothy Kuebler, including making these persons available, at the defendant's expense, for interviews and the provision of testimony in grand jury, trial and other judicial proceedings in connection with any Federal Proceeding as described above.

Builder's Concrete and Supply Co was sentenced to pay a $4 million fine. I am shocked that Kuebler didn't mention that on his Titan Florida Cement bio. That must have been an oversight.

The Justice Department used the information granted in the plea agreements to build their prosecution against Chris Beaver, operations manager of Ma-Ri-Al Corp. Sales Manager Ricky J. Beaver of Ma-Ri-Al Corp was also indicted. A separate imdicted was issued to John J. Blatzheim, Executive Vice-President of Builder’s Concrete and Supply. These three were the major players in concrete price fixing. They held a meeting with other concrete-mixing companies in a barn to create the price monopoly. This is where Timothy Kuebler once again enters the picture. Nothing is more exciting than cloak and dagger concrete price-fixing meetings in a barn.

The first meeting in Nuckols’ horse barn took place on July 12, 2000. Tr. II-142. Nuckols explained that he invited his competitors to the horse barn because, “knowing it wasn’t the right thing to do, we didn’t want to be out in public doing this.” Tr. I-46. See also Tr. II-142 (Haehl) (“[The horse barn] was private and, you know, what we were
doing there was not legal.”).

The participants were Scott Hughey, President of Carmel Concrete, Tr. II-289; Richard Haehl, Vice-President of Shelby Materials, Tr. II-122; his brother Philip Haehl; John Huggins from Irving Materials; and Nuckols and Tim Kuebler from Builder’s Supply. Tr. I- 66-67; II-143. Nuckols could not recall with certainty whether anyone from Ma-Ri-Al attended, but both Richard Haehl and Scott Hughey testified that Ricky Beaver represented Ma-Ri-Al. Tr. II-143 (Haehl); II- 304 (Hughey).

Chris Beaver was convicted and went to prison.

Rick Scott has a man who admitted in a plea bargain agreement being involved in a federal crime advising him on economic policy. Scott wasn't kidding when he said Florida is open for business.

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