Contractor charged with taking kickbacks on Army projects

A construction executive from Tennessee was paid at least $436,000 in kickbacks in a scheme involving multimillion-dollar contracts at two Georgia military bases, according to court filings by federal prosecutors.

A grand jury indicted David Kennedy on charges of wire fraud and taking illegal kickbacks. U.S. District Court records say Kennedy worked as director of operations for an unnamed company that was awarded more than $37 million for Army construction projects at Fort Benning in Columbus and Fort Gordon in Augusta.

Kennedy used his position to steer work to a subcontractor, Southern Atlantic Construction LLC, in exchange for cash payments he received in 2015 from the subcontractor's owner, Gary Hamby, according to the May 16 indictment. Prosecutors say Hamby's company submitted fraudulent invoices for work that was never performed.

Kennedy pleaded not guilty June 6 before a federal judge in Columbus. His attorney, Paul Bruno of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.

The indictment says the Army Corps of Engineers in 2013 awarded Kennedy's company a $29.3 million contract to renovate barracks at Fort Benning. The following year the firm was awarded a $7.7 million contract for construction at Fort Gordon.

Court records don't name Kennedy's employer. They show he was arrested in Tennessee and ordered to report to a probation officer in Nashville as a condition of his release from custody pending trial.

Hamby pleaded guilty in May 2017 to a single count of conspiring to violate federal anti-kickback laws. He has not been sentenced. His plea deal included an agreement to cooperate with federal investigators.