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Evans Landscaping Owner To Be Sentenced One Year After Verdict

It's been more than a year since a jury found Doug Evans guilty in a case that defrauded small business programs in the city and the state.
Courtesty of WCPO
It's been more than a year since a jury found Doug Evans guilty in a case that defrauded small business programs in the city and the state.

Federal Judge Michael Barrett has a lot of leeway when sentencing Newtown's largest landowner Doug Evans this month. The owner of Evans Landscaping could get probation, a lengthy prison term or anything in between for setting up a dummy company to fraudulently win contracts from the city of Cincinnati and the state of Ohio.

Evans is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court Jan. 7. His No. 2 man, Jim Bailey, will be sentenced Jan. 10.

In December 2018, a jury convicted Evans Landscaping, Inc., and company executives on all counts.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, in 2008 the defendants established, controlled and operated a demolition company, Ergon Site Construction, LLC, for the benefit of Evans Landscaping.

The Justice Department says Ergon president and owner Korey Jordan had no prior experience and provided IT services for Evans Landscaping. He had little, if any, actual control over Ergon's management, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"From 2011 through 2014 Ergon bid on and received more than 100 residential demolition contacts with the City of Cincinnati totaling approximately $1.9 million, by leveraging Ergon's fraudulent SBE (small business enterprise) status," a Justice Department news release said.

In court, the U.S. Attorney's Office argued Evans Landscaping is not certified and does not quality as a "small business enterprise," a "minority business enterprise," or economically disadvantaged under the regulations set forth by federal, state or local government programs.

But Evans' attorney Ben Dusing says his client was doing a favor for computer consultant Korey Jordan and loaned him money to start a minority small business. Dusing says eventually Evans Landscaping had "to step in and clean up certain messes it did not cause."

"Its generous and legal backing of Ergon was anything but concealed...the kind of thing one would think we would want established companies doing for minority enterprise," says Dusing, adding all of it was contained in publicly available documents.

When sentenced, Evans faces more than 100 years behind bars.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.