Demolition contractors suspended for faking repair photos

- Two Detroit demolition contractors were suspended Wednesday accused of a sidewalk scam.

The pair allegedly used Photoshop to make it look like they completed work on sidewalks - when they never actually did.

“You will see some stuff that doesn’t look natural. You’ll see shadows that look out of whack. You’ll see hay that’s done in a perfectly straight line,” said Brian Farkas, special projects manager for the Detroit Building Authority.

Luckily, the fake photos were discovered to be doctored before the contractors were paid.

Direct Construction Services and Rickman Enterprises Group, were hired as part of Detroit’s federally funded demolition program.

However, Farkas says these fake photos are not typical.

“We've done over 12 thousand demolitions, and the vast majority of those have been done without any issues,” said Farkas.

Now the city is investigating all the contractors it works with.

“There's an appeals process: the first contractor filed for an appeal and lost, so he’s suspended through 2020.  The second contractor’s appeal comes up in September,” Farkas said.

According to Farkas, the photos submitted by Rickman were intended to be a joke.

“They came clean. They had an employee that said they submitted it as an inside joke that accidentally got submitted,” said Farkas

Fox 2 contacted both contractors, neither of them called back. 

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