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Harrisburg man sentenced in failed building project

Updated: Friday, February 28 2014, 11:26 PM CST
Reported by: Donna Kirker Morgan

HARRISBURG -- A federal judge today said “evil motives did take hold” in a Harrisburg building project that went bust. This, as she sentenced its developer, David Dodd, to 87 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $21 million in restitution.

CBS21 News was there when David Dodd walked into the federal court house a free man. He would leave in handcuffs.

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District in Pennsylvania, Peter  Smith says Dodd requested more time before being sent to prison, however, the judge must have taken into consideration that this case has been going on for four-and-a-half years. Dodd said tearful goodbyes to family members and he was handcuffed and removed from the court by U.S. Marshals.

No  one  waited longer for Dodd's sentencing  than 18 contractors who halted constructions on the Capitol View Commerce Center in 2008 because they weren't getting paid and were out millions of dollars in materials and labor.

CBS21 followed the money trail back in 2009  and finally today there was a Dodd conviction. He plead guilty to  theft of government funds and money laundering. He was facing over 20 various charges.

Dodd told the court: "My intentions were good. The complexity of this project warranted the job growth .I believed I could handle it."

But the judge said "clear evil motives did take hold" and sentenced Dodd to 87 months in prison.

Prosecutor Smith says they thought 87 months was appropriate even though it was below the federal guidelines, because Dodd agreed  to give up his appeal or the litigate all matters with respect to the $21 million restitution.

Dodd is ordered to pay $21 million in restitution to those contractors and to pay back to taxpayers. Taxpayers also took a hit in this development debacle because HUD money was involved and that could impact low income families looking for housing supports  for years.  

Here is a breakdown of the restitution orders:

After five days of hearings to establish the amount of the loss resulting from Dodd’s conduct, Judge Rambo filed a 37-page opinion on October 15, 2013 awarding $20,943,635.13 in restitution as follows: 

H&R Mechanical, $1,255,468.62
Weaver Glass, $594,890.00
Stone Fire Protection, $308,755.40
Scheadler Yesco, $390,767.05 Stewart-Amos Steel, $622,146.52
Ciesco, $118,218.11
Macri Concrete, $323,057.70
H.W. Nauman, $31,672.47
Herre Brothers, Inc., $1,265,237.50
Metro Bank, $9,489,864.88
Dauphin County, $2,752,450.64
City of Harrisburg, $3,512,777.70 and $308,328.54 

Roy Christ, the Director of  Harrisburg’s Building and Housing, tells us that the damage to low to moderate income families due to this is “incalculable”. 

It will take 11 more years to pay off the debt that resulted from state, local and federal money that was lost in the project.  They estimate that represents future services to 187 families that have now been lost.

Last November, the building was sold for $250,000 in bankruptcy court.

Work has begun to make it functioning building instead of an eyesore at the corner of Herr and Cameron Streets.

Harrisburg man sentenced in failed building project

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