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Contractor Slow-Plays Nevada DOC for Cheap Prison Labor

After a deadbeat Las Vegas steel contractor lied about paying his bill for cheap prison labor, Nevada legislators called his bluff.

            Randy Bulloch, the president of Alpine Steel, told a state committee on Sept. 28, 2012 that he'd just secured a steel fabrication contract for the SkyVue observation wheel on the Las Vegas Strip, and that the project would allow him to pay $78,000 in overdue costs for prison labor he used on other projects and $401,000 he owes the state for using facilities at the High Desert State Prison.

            But Natalie Mounier, a spokeswoman for the SkyVue project, said no contract had been awarded to Bulloch or anyone else.

            "Alpine Steel does not have a contract for any steel or services with the SkyVue observation wheel," she said.

            When Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, learned that Bulloch had deceived the Legislative Committee on Industrial Programs, which he chairs, he said he was "furious," and wanted Bulloch to appear at a special meeting of the committee to explain how he would pay his bill.

            "We're at the end of our rope," Ohrenschall said.

            Nevada operates a prison industrial program that allows private employers to hire prisoners at minimum wage so they can learn skills to help them find jobs upon their release. Bulloch paid $40,000 of his prison labor bill in early October, and promised to pay the other $38,000, thanks to his supposed contract with SkyVue, by Nov. 1. 2012.

            Ohrenschall said he might ask prison officials to shut down Bulloch's operation at High Desert, and lawmakers want the state to get a bond or guarantee to protect itself in recovering the $401,000. Ohrenschall said he also learned that a federal tax lien for $668,543 had been filed against Alpine Steel for back taxes.

Source: Las Vegas Sun

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