James Eli Shiffer, the Star Tribune’s watchdog and data editor, digs into data and documents to uncover the news. Reach him at 612-673-4116, james.shiffer@startribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameselishiffer. Tell us what to investigate. Send your story tips to whistleblower@startribune.com.

MnDOT suspends contractor after owner convicted of tax evasion

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: July 14, 2014 - 2:39 PM

For the second time in recent months, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has suspended a contractor from getting any more state work after a criminal conviction. Marlin Dahl, owner of Dahl Trucking of Elmore, Minn., was convicted in December of wilfully failing to deduct $54,000 in payroll taxes, according to the Internal Revenue Service. "Agents discovered that instead, Dahl hatched a scheme whereby he recorded wage payments as 'road expenses' of his drivers, which were incorrectly treated as reimbursements and not wages," according to the IRS.

This kind of conviction carries an added penalty for government contractors, who lose their eligibility to drink from the public spigot. MnDOT's July 8 notice (below) informs Dahl, Dahl Trucking and Elmore Truck and Trailer Repair, Inc., of Elk River, that they are suspended for 60 days, and that the agency will seek a three-year "debarment" that prohibits awarding any contracts for three years. 

I left a message for a lawyer for Dahl Trucking, which is still in operation. Dahl, 60, is currently a resident of the federal prison hospital in Rochester, according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons' handy inmate locator.  

MnDOT Notice to Dahl Re Suspension and Proposed Debarment

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