CEO of road contractor, PBS&J, steps down in pay to play scandal

Link to article here.

PBS&J gets lots of contracts in Texas despite the perpetual scandals revealed about the company. Between embezzlement, overbilling, the company paying employees back for political contributions, and now it’s pay to play bribes, PBS&J is clearly a criminal outfit beyond redemption. The San Antonio MPO awarded them a contract even after we alerted them to the first round of corruption with this company. Now we find out the corruption has been at the top all along. Where’s the outrage in Texas? Why don’t they ban all contracts going to this criminal company? Why can’t these guys make an honest living? No wonder the public remains skeptical when it comes transportation contracting…

Tue, Feb. 02, 2010
CEO of PBS&J to step down amid scandal
Miami Herald

The boss of one of Florida’s biggest government contractors has announced he’s stepping down. The news comes weeks after embarrassing disclosures about his personal involvement in a corporate pay to play scandal, and disclosures about possible corrupt payoffs overseas by company officials.“After a decade of my executive leadership through the best of times and through difficult times it is now time to plan an orderly transition to a new CEO,” PBS&J chief executive John Zumwalt, 58, said in a prepared statement last week. Zumwalt will continue as chairman of PBS&J’s board of directors.

A company source told Broward Bulldog that Zumwalt was forced out by a group of unhappy employee-shareholders. PBS&J spokeswoman Kathe Riley Jackson deniedit.

PBS&J is a major competitor for government contracts in Broward, where over the years it has made tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Republicans and Democrats.

At the same time, PBS&J has received public sector business worth tens of millions of dollars. The company currently leads the design engineering team for the county’s $810 million airport runway expansion project. At the Broward School Board, PBS&J has helped manage school construction projects.

Until last summer, Zumwalt was also president of PBS&J International — the subsidiary that’s the focus of an internal investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The act prohibits corrupt payments to foreign officials to obtain or keep business. Zumwalt was replaced as president by Walid Hatoum.

“Initial results of the investigation suggest that FCPA violations may have occurred. However, the investigation does not suggest that any violation extends beyond the international operations or that members of our executive management were involved in the illegal conduct,” the company said in its annual report filed with the SEC on Jan. 13.

PBS&J, which shifted its headquarters from South Florida to Tampa in 2007, has provided no details about what spurred the internal probe, nor has it named the country or countries where payoffs are suspected.

Dan Christensen, a former Miami Herald reporter and columnist for The Daily Business Review, is founding editor of, a nonprofit online-only newspaper.