AG, Birdsall settle civil forfeiture action for $2.6M

TRENTON – An engineering firm whose executives face pay-to-play charges has reached a settlement with the state Attorney General over a civil action.

Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that Birdsall will pay the state $2.6 million to settle the civil forfeiture action.

This will include $2.5 million in forfeiture plus $100,000 to cover state fees for outside counsel in the bankruptcy case.

In addition, Birdsall must set up a $1 million fund dedicated to paying up to $1 million toward any fines, penalties and restitution that arise from the ongoing criminal action.  That fund will mean that payment of such sums, up to $1 million, will be given priority treatment in the bankruptcy action.

Birdsall will fund most of these payments by drawing on the cash surrender value of certain “key man” life insurance policies it holds on its officers and former officers, many of whom have now been indicted. The remaining monies are being funded through cash on hand, the AG’s office said.

“Through this settlement, the state has gained a substantial sum in civil forfeiture from Birdsall and has secured its right to seek significant additional criminal penalties,” Chiesa said in a release. “At the same time, Birdsall can continue to operate, to perform its contracts and to pay its employees.  Our goal has consistently been to punish the guilty and protect the state’s interests, without needlessly harming innocent employees or those doing business with the firm.”

Earlier story:

Birdsall execs indicted

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato