Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that on September 5, 2013, the bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied discharge of an $882,000 debt owed to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for overcharges made by Buveck Consultants, LLC, and its owner, Thomas L. Burse. Burse and Buveck overbilled the Wisconsin DOT $1.3M through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. Burse also lied to obtain certification in the program, claiming to possess three college degrees despite possessing none. DOT discovered these deceptions, debarred the company from participation in DOT contracts, and offset $500,000 in pending Burse/Buveck claims against the $1.3M owed.
In November 2011, Burse filed bankruptcy for himself and his company in Milwaukee, seeking to discharge the $882,000 balance. The DOT objected to discharge in the Burse bankruptcy, asserting that the debt was incurred by fraud.
Although the balance is also owed by the prime contractors that employed Buveck, and despite the fact that all of the fraud was committed through the LLC, the bankruptcy court upheld the Department’s objection to Burse’s discharge. The court awarded judgment against Burse for $882,000, providing that prime contractors compelled to pay any portion of that claim shall also have the right to collect from Burse under the state’s judgment. Debra L. Remington and Mark Bromley represented the Department. Kathleen Chung represented the DOT.
A copy of the Amended Complaint is available here.