The City of Austin claims it is the best managed city in America. Based on what we will show you, it is not true at all. The person you can blame for this is City of Austin Public Works Director Howard Scott Lazarus.
Yes, folks, Howard Lazarus is currently the Director of the City of Austin Public Works. Engineers are thought to be a trustworthy occupation right below pharmacists. But today, you will meet one who is not, the one who makes other engineers act with integrity: Howard Lazarus.
Before we begin, you need to understand who Howard Lazarus really is. Howard Lazarus is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. After he graduated from West Point, he worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But his later work would be what fascinates us.
What should really interest people is his history at Shaw Environmental, which is really called American Eagle Communities. Lazarus allegedly changed the name of the company on his resume because he didn't want people to know he was associated with an unethical organization.
What's even more fascinating is his history at the City of Austin as their Public Works Director!
I. Howard's Tenure at American Eagle Communities
After leaving the city of Newark, NJ, Howard Lazarus took a job at American Eagle Communities. AEC is part of Shaw Privatization Ventures. They landed the contract with the military to rebuild houses at several of the military bases.
Howard Lazarus has a history of illegal activity himself and has a history of destroying people who call him out on his unethical behavior. The COA failed to do their due diligence or else they would have uncovered these issues easily. We're not lawyers or HR people and we found this information in less than 15 minutes using Google. Before coming to the City of Austin, Howard Lazarus worked for the Shaw Group. Shaw Group and Carabetta formed a joint company called American Eagle Communities. AEC built military housing at military bases in Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Missouri. But its biggest deal was to build homes in the Seattle area at three Navy bases: Kitsap-Bangor, the Whidbey naval station, and Everett naval air station. Howard was the Operations Manager for AEC and worked with current COA PWD Assistant Director James Snow at American Eagle Communities.
AEC has some serious issues in which Lazarus participated. American Eagle Managing Director Kathryn Thompson was sued by Orange County, CA, for defaulting on a public housing project, declared bankruptcy earlier, and owed lots of dough to the IRS.
Then there's AEC owner Carabetta Enterprises, a low income housing developer in Connecticut who was banned from HUD projects because they illegally diverted HUD money where it wasn't supposed to go.
Overseeing American Eagle's $230 million Navy contract in Seattle, AEC Contract Administrator John Jack (JJ) saw that it was not going according to plan. JJ says that executives at AEC approved the use of sub-standard building materials in the new houses such as using 30-year roof in lieu of the specified 50-year roof and PEX piping in lieu of copper piping and hollow core doors in lieu of solid core doors. Instead of addressing the issue, AEC told JJ to keep quiet about the $28 million charge in the Seattle area. Two weeks later, he was terminated. Jack filed charges with the US Justice Department, charging AEC illegally billed the Navy.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Eric Nalder found that in one job after another - from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida to Fort Leonard Wood Army Base in Missouri - American Eagle's military home building projects had fallen behind schedule. In Jacksonville, Arkansas, home of Little Rock Air Force Base, local journalist John Hofheimer reported that civilians were suffering from American Eagle's actions, as well. He found out that some of the contractors were being paid late, or perhaps not being paid at all. American Eagle was, perhaps, months behind on paying them. AEC screwed the small contractors out of money they had paid for their materials and their crews. John Hofheimer reported that at least one subcontractor filed for bankruptcy; dozens of others had to settle for small percentages of what they were owed. Some of the military families were even forced to live in slums managed and maintained by AEC.
One hold-out though is Tommy Austin, whose cement business was contracted to pour the foundations of more than 200 houses for American Eagle. Not only is he out $70 K for the concrete he lost, he had to pay attorney's and court filing fees.
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas called Lazarus's company AEC a rogue company because they underbid to get the job. He had to get laws passed to fix AEC.
The worst damage was done at Moody Air Force Base. The construction was not complete and the housing went into foreclosure because AEC was running behind schedule and performing substandard construction. It happens that Howard Lazarus's in-laws Mr. & Mrs. Melvin Rainbow live nearby in Adel, GA.
In the end, AEC only built 141 out of 605 homes in the Seattle area and 25 out of 468 homes at Little Rock Air Force Base.
II. Howard's Tenure at the City of Austin Public Works Department
Folks, if you think Howard Lazarus is a success as Director of Public Works, you would be absolutely wrong! Lazarus is so bad he has a natural talent for bad engineering decisions you just can't teach.
How bad is Howard Lazarus? He is so bad other Public Works Departments across America are using him as an example of how not to run their Public Works Departments.
When Austin City Manager Marc Ott hired Lazarus, he stated: Mr. Lazarus brings a broad perspective that includes not only oversight, but design and in-the-field experience. I am confident as we move forward on transportation and capital improvement projects, his background will serve as a catalyst for getting projects moving forward in the most cost-effective manner. If Ott only checked out Lazarus's past performance at AEC, he wouldn't be having problems at the City of Austin Public Works Department now. Right now, Carabetta Enterprises, one of AEC's partners, is under federal investigation by the FBI, IRS, and NCIS, for tax fraud and other federal crimes.
Let's show the public poor examples of Howard Lazarus's leadership, shall we?
ARCH Homeless Center: This 7-year-old facility is now having major issues with waterproofing, plumbing, and mechanical systems. This structure was obviously not reviewed or inspected. If it were, the reinforced concrete beams would have been designed for the moist conditions similar to a marine environment and their would be no plumbing, heating, or moisture problems. Austin City Manager Marc Ott stated he wanted a maintenance assessment for this building. Unfortunately, this will not solve the problems if the design was bad to begin with. Instead of addressing this problem, Lazarus did nothing, not even fix the design review process so things like this wouldn't happen again.
Turner Roberts Recreation Center: The media calls this building Turner Wreck and with good reason. The building has major issues. The CMU header beams were not sized and there was no lateral force resisting system for wind loads. Lazarus and his idiots claimed it was caused by shifting soils. The structural and architectural drawings were not coordinated before construction. There weren't any inspections done on it because the void forms were crushed. Instead of learning from this issue, Lazarus used this incident to fire the employee who disagreed with him. After that employee was fired, the attorneys for the contractor and architect got copies of the infamous City of Austin stating that structural engineering designs are not reviewed. In August 2012, the facility was demolished and shown on KTBC Fox 7, Fox's O&O in Austin, TX. Who's sorry now, Lazarus?
Check out his response when he discussed that benches on Brazos Street are an investment when he was questioned by Jessica Holloway of KVUE-TV. Wish he would have thought about that with the Turner Roberts Recreation Center.
Let Us Tell You About Howard's Shovel Ready Projects
The infamous trail to nowhere is located in the north side of Austin, TX, that runs near the Domain shopping center and St. David's North Austin Hospital. When Westar Construction started building, they noticed some major problems such as ADA non-compliance and lack of trees on the approved plans. This made it hard for Westar Construction to perform the work. When Westar told the city of these issues, the City of Austin Public Works Department under Lazarus and Richard Duane did nothing to resolve the issues. According to Austin City Hydrologist Sylvia Pope, the City of Austin would ignore all the environmental issues and right-of-way acquisition work until after construction had started just like all Austin City projects including this one. During the construction, Westar head Williamson was told by City of Austin Public Works Director Lazarus to look busy even though they were doing nothing.
Lazarus told Statesman reporter Martin Toohey he would avoid having this occur in the future because he had established a Quality Control Unit in City of Austin Public Works Department to catch things like this. The Statesman didn't buy Lazarus's explanation because they had the infamous memo in their hands written by one of Lazarus's employees. The Statesman knew the plans should have been checked a long time ago. The plans were sent to an independent third party and determined to be structurally defective. Many of the prefab bridges were missing critical design information such as dead loads, live loads, arch camber, flood loads, and bridge type. The retaining wall designs were incomplete and lacked typical City of Austin required information. Westar notified their bond insurance company about the issues.
Lazarus's media appearance on YNN Austin reminds people why his rapper nickname should be Sir Owes-A-Lot based on his actions on this project.
He likes big debts that he can apply
His other brothers can't deny
When an architect walks in with an itty bitty change
And a big bill in his face
He gets sprung!
This project mishaps have caught the attention of both Democrats and Republicans in U.S. Government. That's right, Lazarus is a uniter who got everyone against him. Even U.S. Senator Tom Coburn was upset at Lazarus.
Lazarus: Losing Monetary Savings as Public Works Director
Folks, Howard Lazarus claims he wants to save Austin taxpayer money on public works projects. But when he is presented with them, he completely ignores them. The alleged reason he is doing this: because he wants to be credited with coming up with the ideas.
The Red Bud Isle bridge. Howard Lazarus stated that the bridge will need to be replaced. He says it would cost $3 million to replace the bridge. There's one problem with the Howard's plan: he never considered upgrading the bridge for the higher loads.
Did Lazarus think about adding additional cover plates or widening the existing bridge by adding
additional girders? Of course not!
Did Lazarus think about designing the bridge as a low water crossing so that the bridge could take lateral
loads from the stream? Of course not! If he added additional drilled shafts, he could get more capacity from the existing bridge.
Waterloo Park at Waller Creek: Howard Lazarus did a great job of being an ignoramus on this job. His mistake was so bad he wasted $30 million on a $150 million project. It is a new architecturally decorative inlet facility that controls flooding of Waller Creek and associated stream bank walls. The inlet facility is a two story concrete building housing the spillway opening where water feeds into the tunnel below. City leaders including Lazarus were complaining about the high cost at various places in town.
One of the reviewers found major structural defects and ways for the project to be more economical. What did Lazarus do about them? He had the employee put on leave and fired. There's a paper released about them. God bless OCR scanners. A third party evaluated them and found the ideas to be legitimate. Here are a list of some of them:
Use a thin steel form or set of them for the ogee weir. A concrete weir will be difficult to form. The steel can be corrected in the shop if there is an issue. Use precast-concrete pipes for the hollow weir.
Design the vault walls as two-way slabs. This reduces thicknesses and reinforcing. If the slab is over 3 feet thick, it will be difficult to cure.
Install the reinforcing in the middle building slab in an X-Y grid, not the one currently shown.
Integrate the water feature with the building design. Instead of using 4 MSE walls, make it a reinforced concrete tank.
Maintain the outer shape of the columns around the ogee and hollow them out on the inside. This will not only reduce concrete costs, but will also allow piping to be placed inside them.
In the vane area, reduce the concrete wall thicknesses and reinforcing of the concrete walls by constructing it as a culvert and NOT as cantilevers.
Use the drainage boxes to span between areas where there are trees present.
Removing the pour strips on the roof slab and stress the concrete slabs and beams from both ends.
Lady Bird Lake Trail Extension: The project consisted of architecturally colored and pieced reinforced concrete slabs supported on structural steel framing. Each 20 foot structural steel support frame is supported by reinforced concrete drilled shafts on 20 foot centers into the river limestone below. Plenty of value engineering suggestions were provided. Unfortunately, Lazarus did absolutely nothing to reduce the cost of the project. This was particularly disturbing because the lowest bid was $5 million over the original $17 million budgeted back in November 2010. This issue was raised in the February 21, 2012, Austin American-Statesman article titled Boardwalk May Cost At Least $3.3 Million More Than City Estimate. When Lazarus was given these value engineering and safety issues, he had the employee fired! We saw these ideas posted in Austin. God bless OCR scanners!
Here are the value engineering ideas that Lazarus refused to use, from publicly available records:
Concrete plank pieces require the rebar to be angularly cut if placed in the straight direction.
Why not place the steel railing posts at beam locations that brace the W12x beams? This will prevent torsion from going into the steel beams and lighten the W-sections.
Lack of a copy of the bridge report with a stamp on the front cover indicating that it not be separated from the plans. This could help save money on the prefabricated bridges because velocities in Lady Bird Lake are different at each point in plan and elevation.
Recommended keep the same number and length of longitudinal bars and just change the spacing along the plank length.
Reinforced concrete piers and structural steel in the rest areas may not be designed for moments induced by unbalanced live loads on the deck. Along the same lines, the structural steel may be lacking steel components necessary for a moment connection such as vertical stiffeners and a panel zone.
Why a sloped bottom structural steel beam is used when the user cannot see it from a distance?
Lack of wind transfer details and hold-downs for the rest-room metal walls.
The bent beams and columns supporting the 20 foot spans have the same reinforcing steel as the bent beams that support the bent beams supporting the 80 foot and longer prefabricated pedestrian bridges.
Lack of structural design and details for the Belvederes. Lack of a 3-D rendering for the Belvedere structures will make them impossible construct.
Many experts have weighed in and concluded the monetary savings on the project would amount to $3.5 million. Did Howard use these money-saving ideas? Of course he didn't! He decided to let the Trail Foundation use their donation money instead! If we were a members of the Trail Foundation, we would be really upset if we had to use money when we really didn't have to.
South Walnut Creek Trail: This project is a nature trail with prefabricated bridge and retaining walls. Recommendations to save the city money were made, such as using a culvert with a retaining wall on top in lieu of two tiered retaining walls that could experience a potential global slope stability failure. Again, Howard Lazarus nor Project Manager Richard Duane saved money on this project.
Howard Lazarus Gives Job Security to Individuals with Serious Ethical Flaws
Howard Lazarus claims he has ethical construct, but based on our encounters, this is not true at all. Based on the evidence we will provide you, he is the representative of a dangerous savage, morality-impaired species.
Recently, a reference check was done using Howard Lazarus as a reference. When Lazarus was contacted by a potential employer, he simply told lies and propaganda contrary to what he had signed, even though Lazarus gave this person an achievement award. Lazarus even allows fellow employees in on the plot. It was displayed in Austin and boy, does everyone who see it hate his guts!
Lazarus allowed his employees to not testify in a termination hearing, to falsify job evaluations in order to avoid paying out unemployment, violate HIPAA laws, and even write memos telling his employees not to review structural engineering aspects of plans. He even allows them to endanger their health with deadly consequences. He even fires employees and makes them sign statements telling them to write a statement telling the public that all structures in Austin are safe when it isn't even true. That's because Lazarus wants to do as little as possible to prevent the eventual heat-death of the universe.
Lazarus Never Uses Art in Practical Public Places
Like many people across the country, art should be on display in public places whenever it can. It should be useful and affordable and put people to work as much as possible. But Lazarus is so dumb he even turns down ideas for art in public places when it can actually help people. Andy Pierrotti of KVUE TV did an excellent piece on public work that taxpayers paid for, but could not see or enjoy. You can thank Howard Lazarus for it. Sounds like to the taxpaying Austinites, he's a sure loser.
Howard Lazarus: Vicious Human Being
Folks, it's quite obvious from our discussions that Howard Lazarus is a vicious human being. If you do not agree with Lazarus, you will be destroyed. Lazarus has had a history of destroying the careers of countless people who were just doing their jobs whether he worked for the city of Austin, Shaw, or American Eagle Communities. He does such things as forcing people to never work at the City of Austin again because of one bad manager: call it his zero intelligence policy. He violates the U.S. Constitution by failing to allow wrongly terminated employees to question the witnesses against them. Lazarus wants them to sign statements stating all structures in Austin are safe when they aren't. Lazarus is even willing to have people not experts in their subject matter decide the safety of the residents which he is appointed. Lazarus even has them illegally incarcerated for such things like requesting past pay stubs to get their life-saving medication for free so they don't fall asleep at the wheel and kill innocent citizens. Lazarus's actions will make you spend thousands of dollars on lawyers for charges that have no basis. Lazarus is so willing to allow his employees to doctor evidence and violate state and federal laws to meet his Machiavellian goals that he actually gives them job security. Lazarus's engineering successes are tales
told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!
Lazarus is so evil he steals from children as young as 3 and Hispanic! Why did Howard not give the child's artwork back to the employee he fired? Would Lazarus like it if someone did this to his daughters Dana & Becky's childhood pictures? Of course not!
Lazarus even files police restraining orders to prevent employees from picking up their personal belongings. The reason he does this is so he can allow his Public Works employees to pack stolen property and arrest them later on charges he drums up. This is his reaction when an employee reports a life safety issue such as the one where employees are told not to review structural engineering aspects of plans, written by UT Austin dumb alumnus Christopher L. Newton. FYI, Newton barely graduated from UT Austin and never took key structural engineering coursework. This memo has made its way to the local HEBs, Texas Roadhoues, the Hill Country Galleria, historic downtown Bastrop, the San Antonio Riverwalk, and the Lady Bird Lake bike trail.
Many people want to do something about this imperfect life-form. They can by deciding not to come to Austin, TX. If they do, they will want to make time to meet one of the U.S.'s dumb Public Works Directors, Howard Lazarus. Thanks to Lazarus, after leaving the city of Austin, you will never work in your field again because you will have to go on food stamps and welfare. You may even get to die from lack of medical care.
Of course, we would expect Lazarus to lie and tell falsehoods to bail out his sorry white a**. That's because he can never be trusted to be truthful. The people of Austin, TX, must demand that Lazarus be fired immediately.
Thanks to Lazarus's actions, Moody's has been notified and is considering lowering Austin's credit rating, making it more expensive for the city of Austin to fix their roads. Even major retail chains have decided not to stock Austin-based products in their stores nationwide. Target corporate in Minneapolis has the infamous Newton memo and has decided to sue the city of Austin if their stores have any major structural defects. We will be continuously sending this memo to the many companies so they know what is going on! Even states like California and New York are using it to lure businesses away from Texas, like Sematech now in Albany, NY.
Hello, we're the storytellers. No one has time to waste, and that's why at the City of Austin, they've tailored their terminations to wreck the knowledgeable employee's busy life. Every day, they deliver major falsehoods and doctored evidence of their skewed viewpoints. There's no fact-checking. There's lots of fluff. They make sure they ruin their employees while wasting your time and dime. City of Austin, (TX),
a*s-backwards, governmental stupidity you can count on!
This post will be updated when Lazarus stops slandering his employees. Thanks to him, city taxpayers voted for a just cause ordinance to protect Howard Lazarus from unjustified terminations.