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Cornelius News

UNCC Spanish professor cites toll lane contractor’s checkered history

ferrovial-agromanMay 19. By Michael Mezquida. The wife of a Cornelius town commissioner, who is also a Spanish professor at UNC-Charlotte, says the Spanish company Cintra will not be a good partner for the I-77 toll-lane project. Citing a number of foreign news sources, Diane Gilroy, whose husband is Town Commissioner Dave Gilroy, stated that  Ferrovial Agroman, the parent company of Cintra, has a history of troubled relationships in its dealings with municipalities abroad.

“They are basically one of the most despised companies in Spain,” Gilroy said. “Their reputation is just awful.”

According to Spanish court documents, Ferrovial allegedly paid millions of dollars in payments to influential political leaders to secure large-scale public works projects. In June of 2013, the Spanish newspaper El Pais, which has the largest circulation in Spain, reported on the company’s questionable practices. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal in 2014 reported that Ferrovial was under investigation for allegedly paying kickbacks under the guise of contributions to the Palau de la Musica, a renowned concert hall in Barcelona, which relies largely on contributions from wealthy Spanish industrialists to operate.

Bill Thunberg, executive director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission, said he personally was not aware of any impropriety, but said he believed the state most likely took appropriate and thorough actions in its investigation of Cintra before the company was considered for the I-77 job.

“To be able to be approved by the LGC (Local Government Commission) and in order to meet qualifications for bond issuance and financing, I’m sure there was a great deal of due diligence done,” Thunberg said.

When Cornelius Today contacted Ferrovial Agroman’s North American headquarters in Austin, Texas our questions were referred to I-77 Mobility Partners LLC, an independent company of Cintra. Their director of corporate affairs, Jean Leire, could not be immediately reached. And the NC-DOT’s point man, director of outreach and community affairs, Warren Cooksey had a voice mailbox that was full, and a request for a comment on the matter could not be made this afternoon.

The NC-DOT’s $655 million toll-lane project would establish high-speed toll lanes for drivers willing to pay to use them on a 26-mile stretch from Mooresville to Charlotte. Despite resolutions passed in the towns of Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville to halt the toll-lane project, the NC-DOT and Governor Patrick McCrory plan to move ahead. Any uncertainty as to the state’s intentions were clarified today in a press release from the transportation department.  See https://apps.ncdot.gov/NewsReleases/details.aspx?r=11157


4 Responses to “UNCC Spanish professor cites toll lane contractor’s checkered history”

  1. What do I think?

    I think Tillis, McCrory and the leading people involved in this top plane scheme are: A) criminals. B) really greedy and power crazed. or C) just really stupid.

    Posted by Nils Lucander | May 19, 2015, 4:22 pm
  2. Any request for proposal (RFP) from a government body (NCDOT) that yields only one bidder (Cintra/Mobility Partners) begs for answers to many questions, including: 1)Who wrote the RFP and why only one bidder? 2) Did Cintra write the RFP or help craft it? 3) What money or favors changed hands to that stopped all competitive bidding and brought us to this situation? 4) Why didn’t the State require a new RFP that would require at least 2 or preferably 3 proposals/bids? 5) Why didn’t the State cancel the contract when they had the opportunity after Cintra missed the deadline for Financial Close, and take the $15 Million penalty money?
    This all stinks of something very dirty!!
    Thank goodness our town councils from Charlotte to Mooresville have seen the light and are asking questions.

    Posted by Bain Black | May 20, 2015, 10:12 am
  3. Thank you for writing this article and getting the public talking! Bain Black’s next steps are exactly what we need to follow. I now have my hands on the 37 page PDF document from the special anti-corruption attorney at the Ministry of Justice in Spain. I has tracked down and contacted Emilio Sanchez Ulled’s office in Barcelona. These legal documents show the criminal measures (bribery in the form of millions of dollars) that Ferrovial took in Spain to receive these special government contracts. We need to understand exactly what happened in NC and hold NCDOT accountable.

    Posted by Diane Gilroy | May 20, 2015, 2:19 pm
  4. I have tracked down… sorry (not I has)

    Posted by Diane Gilroy | May 20, 2015, 2:21 pm

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