Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Ex-FDOT man goes to prison

A state Department of Transportation contractor who accepted a bribe from a subcontractor on a Marathon project was sentenced Tuesday in Miami to a year in prison.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. sentenced Ron Capobianco Jr., 40, of Pompano Beach, to 12 months plus one day in prison. He had faced 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The Pompano Beach man pleaded guilty in federal court February to committing bribery in connection with programs receiving federal funds.

Capobianco worked as a construction engineering and inspection consultant for Metric Engineering Inc., which specializes in the transportation industry. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contracted with Metric to provide services including designing, inspecting and troubleshooting the construction of roads, signs and traffic signals.

Capobianco was the FDOT District 4 Signalization and Lighting Liaison, or in layman's terms, project manager. He had a team of employees that helped him supervise other contractors, and also was consulted as an FDOT expert on certain aspects of signal and lighting construction, including the use of video detection cameras.

In 2009, FDOT began a road construction project along U.S. 1 in Marathon designed to improve traffic flow.

Capobianco agreed to accept a bribe from a subcontractor working on that project, federal officials charged. Federal agents did not name the subcontractor in court documents.

In May 2009, a person representing the subcontractor offered to pay Capobianco $5,000 if it could receive at least $25,000 to install video detection equipment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Capobianco agreed to the subcontractor's $25,000 bid, "thus enabling the subcontractor to make a significant profit," federal officials said in a press release issued Wednesday. The subcontractor's estimate was approved and subsequently paid by the state of Florida after the installation of the video detection equipment.

Also in May 2009, Capobianco again met with the subcontractor's representative in Plantation and was paid $4,000 in cash for his assistance to the subcontractor on the Marathon project, federal officials said.

Capobianco was not contracted to work on the current North Roosevelt Boulevard project in Key West, FDOT spokesman Dean Walters said.

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