Former Union Pacific railroad hub contractor could face fines for bid on New Mexico job

A former contractor on a $400 million Union Pacific railroad hub in Santa Teresa along the state's southern border with Mexico has been accused of bidding for the job without a legal New Mexico license.

Potential fines levied against the company, Ames Sundt JV, could reach into the millions of dollars, the Albuquerque Journal reported ( ) Saturday.

The state Construction Industries Division began an investigation into the company about two years ago. Formal complaints were filed in March, the newspaper reported.

The Union Pacific facility opened in April.

Closed-door mediation over the complaints lodged against Ames Sundt JV begin Tuesday in Albuquerque with the state Construction Industries Commission and the Attorney General's Office.

The case involves a contract amount of about $178 million, Attorney General spokesman Phil Sisneros said. State law allows for fines equal to about 10 percent of the value of the contract, he said.

Attorneys for the contractors — Ames Sundt JV is a joint venture between Minnesota-based Ames Construction and Arizona-based Sundt Construction — declined to discuss the case, citing the pending legal matters. But the Journal reported that state records indicate the companies deny wrongdoing.

The initial investigation began after an Albuquerque businessman who lost out on his bid for a portion of the railway project filed a complaint with the state, according to emails obtained by the Journal.

Kevin Yearout, of Yearout Mechanical in Albuquerque, complained that Ames Sundt JV wasn't legally licensed under New Mexico law at the time it bid on the project, and it only obtained the proper licensing about 75 days later.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal,