A contractor who falsified records to hide the fact that concrete used in construction of Metro’s Silver Line was defective was sentenced Friday to pay $1.4 million and to spend a year in prison, though it is not clear that he will actually serve that time.
District Judge T.S. Ellis III indicated that Andrew Nolan, 28, is cooperating with investigators and may never actually go to prison; a lawsuit against his family’s concrete company is ongoing.
Universal Concrete manufactured more than 1,500 panels used to build exterior walls at five of the six new stations along the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport and beyond as part of a $6.1 million contract. Nolan admitted that while in charge of quality control he told employees to report fake data on the amount of oxygen in the concrete panels. The true data showed that there was not enough air in the concrete to prevent damage in cold weather.
“They will reject those panels,” Nolan told an employee, according to court filings. “We have to change the data.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye said in court that the panels now must be treated regularly with a special spray to prevent deterioration — at a total estimated cost of $700,000. Nolan agreed to pay double that amount over his lifetime in criminal restitution and a civil judgment.
Virginia and the federal government are still suing Nolan’s uncle, Donald Faust Jr., and the company over the bad concrete. The lawsuit alleges that Universal Concrete management was repeatedly warned that Nolan was “cooking the books” but did nothing. A vice president who pushed for an internal audit was fired, according to the civil complaint.
“He was overwhelmed,” defense attorney John Francis Lauro said in court. “He was trying his best to keep up with the responsibility that was given him.”
The firm was founded by Nolan’s grandfather and run at the time by his uncle. Nolan’s first supervisor told him to falsify data, his attorney said.
In June 2016, Nolan quit the family firm and found another job. “He couldn’t take it anymore,” Lauro said. When approached by the FBI earlier this year, Lauro said Nolan “told agents everything” and “tried to make amends.”
Ellis, the federal judge in Alexandria, suggested Nolan is also helping the Silver Line investigation. He delayed Nolan’s incarceration, telling Asonye, “that period of time is in some measure in your control,” and said a prison designation is not definite.