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Executives Implicated In Bid-Rigging Scheme Plead ‘Not Guilty’

by ABC-7 Reporter/Anchor Celina Avila

EL PASO — Two top executives of El Paso-based companies implicated in an alleged bid-rigging scheme went before a federal judge on Wednesday.

Lindsay B. Holt of Architectural Products and Humberto “Beto” Lopez of El Paso Steel Doors and Frames entered a plea of not guilty to anti-trust charges.

Both were free on bond Wednesday night.

Attorney Sib Abraham is representing Holt. Abraham said that despite one of Holt’s own employees pleading guilty to anti-trust charges last year and cooperating with authorities, his client is not guilty.

“He’s been in this business for some 50 years,” Abraham said.

Holt and Lopez have been charged with conspiracy to rig bids to install doors and hardware for construction projects.

Holt is also facing a charge of obstruction of justice.

“We have supplied to the government numerous documents, cartons and cartons of documents,” Abraham said.

Federal authorities allege in an indictment that Holt, Lopez and others would meet and agree not to compete on a certain contract. Authorities allege they would designate a low bidder, refrain from bidding or submit intentionally high bids. The indictment goes on to say that Holt and Lopez have been doing this since the early 1990s.

“That’s absurd. Frankly, that’s absurd,” Abraham said.

The indictment also says Holt met with his conspirators earlier this year in a commercial parking lot and instructed them to conceal the existence of bid rigging by denying and lying to anyone about it, including law enforcement officials. It also specifies that Holt instructed an employee to destroy records.

“Did they have a meeting after they were notified by the government, of course. That would be the natural thing to do,” Abraham said. “He supplies the hardware for all the major businesses here. He doesn’t need to bid-rig.”

Authorities say this is not a part of the ongoing public corruption investigation.

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