NEW YORK – Filipino American Rodolfo (Rudy) Quiambao, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rudell & Associates, Inc., an engineering and design firm based in Long Island City, was arrested June 4 by federal agents.
Quiambao was charged with allegedly providing more than $6.9 million in bribes and kickbacks to supervisors of Consolidated Edison of New York (ConEd), a provider of electric, gas and steam utility services in New York City, in exchange for receiving contracts for his company.
He was released after posting a $1 million bond secured by a property located in Douglaston Parkway in Douglaston, New York, which he and his wife own. However, he must remain in and may not leave New York City, Long Island, NY, and New Jersey without the Court’s permission.
Quiambao must also “surrender all his passports and must not obtain other passports or international travel documents” according to Court’s conditions of his release signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge of Eastern District of New York Marilyn D. Go. Judge Go also ordered to unseal the complaint and arrest warrant against Quiambao referenced as Docket No. 15-M-475.
The charges and arrest were announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) in New York; Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York; and Michael Nestor, Inspector General, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Office of the Inspector General.
According to court documents, the Court has granted the government’s and Quiambao’s request “to exclude the time period from July 6 to August 6 in computing the time within which an information or indictment must be filed.” This gives both parties to engage in plea negotiations that may result in a disposition of the case without trial.
Quiambao’s arrest was part of a continuing government investigation of bribery and kickbacks involving ConEd employees. The operation netted 10 supervisors and one employee who were arrested and charged in 2009 with receiving bribes from contractors. All eleven plead guilty to federal offenses.
As alleged in the complaint against Quiambao, Rudell was awarded contracts by ConEd from 2001 to January 2011 through competitive bidding process and sole source. This involved, among other things, the “creation of plans and designs for new electrical control systems and public improvement projects as well as drafting new diagrams, maps and schematics relating to existing Con Ed electrical control systems.”
The complaint alleges that from 2007 to January 2011, Rudell received “approximately $30 million in payments from Con Ed, which were approved by a Con Ed Section Manager. This supervisor plead guilty of receiving checks from Quiambao amounting to allegedly $6.9 million.
Throughout these years, the Section Manager “steered ConEd work to Rudell”, “supported the awarding of contracts to Rudell” and “reviewed and authorized payments to Rudell under those contracts.”
In addition to Rudell, the complaint also alleged that Quiambao also controlled another company, Rudicon Power Corp. which was used to “conceal payments” made to former employees of ConEd as part of the bribery and kickback scheme. Rudicon was not a vendor to ConEd.
According to the complaint, the amounts of checks issued from Rudell to Rudicon and then to the companies that former ConEd employees owned were “approximately the same”. Many of the checks referenced in the memo line specific projects that Rudell was performing for ConEd.
Quiambao allegedly helped these former ConEd employees set up their respective companies to channel the bribes which they received.
“For more than a decade, Rodolfo Quiambao allegedly played dirty to make sure he received the contracts, and millions of dollars, that he wanted. And, ordinary New Yorkers, who rely on Con Ed for electricity, gas, and steam, bore the costs,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Currie in a statement.
“Today’s arrest is one more domino to fall in a long line of Con Ed employees and contractors involved in systematic corruption that has left the consumer to foot the bill through higher rates,” said HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge Parmer in a statement. “HSI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and expose money laundering activities regardless of the scheme.”
The 71-year-old Quiambao faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.
In an unrelated case, in February 2015, Administrative Law Judge Lystra A. Harris of the U.S. Department of Labor finalized a January 2013 order by a DOL administrator that calls for Rudell & Associates and its president, Quiambao, to pay about $295,541 in violation of the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The case was filed by 50 H-1B foreign workers, mostly Filipinos, against Rudell and Quiambao. In January 2013, they requested a hearing to seek review of a determination made earlier that month by the administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.
According to court documents, the foreign workers claimed that Rudell owed them a greater amount in wages than the administrator determined, failed to pay immigration and other fees, which were improperly deducted from their wages and owed them interest on the back pay to be awarded.
However, the complainants failed to attend the scheduled hearing on September 2013. As a result, Judge Harris upheld the administrator’s determination (low amount) and ruled that “it will become the final and unappealable order of the Secretary of Labor.”
Rudell & Associates and Quiambao are currently on the DOL’s list of employers who have willfully violated H-1B program rules. The list was last updated by the DOL in December.
Quiambao is from Sta. Ana, Pampanga and a graduate of civil engineering from the Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila. He came to Seattle in 1968 as an associate engineer in a Boeing 747 project. Before venturing into his own business, he worked for Cahn Engineering, Chemplant Design, Inc. and Treadwell Corporation. He is married to Connie, a dentist.
Included in his list of commendable projects as an engineer are the engineering/architectural interior design of JFK International Terminal 4 and the Iglesia ni Cristo Church in Forest Hills. His firm was involved in the rehabilitation of the World Trade Center in 2003.
He was elected Grand Marshal by the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. in 2004. In 2007, he was honored by the Asian American Business Development Center in New York as one of the “Outstanding 50” individuals with “outstanding leadership, vision and accomplishments who have built a successful business or who have distinguished themselves within their community.”
He was also a recipient of the Pamana ng Pilipino Award given by the Philippine government. The award is conferred on “Filipinos overseas who have brought the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession”.
Rodolfo “Rudy” Quiambao. (File Photo)