BRAINERD, Minn. — Cale Ryan LaVoie, the Pillager man charged last month with three counts of felony theft by swindle, was fired from his most recent post at ICS Consulting, the company confirmed Monday, Sept. 9.
LaVoie worked as a project manager with ICS Consulting for about four months, working primarily on the Harrison Elementary School project in the Brainerd School District.
Arif Quraishi, managing partner at ICS, said during a phone interview Monday he learned of the charges against LaVoie last Wednesday and immediately terminated LaVoie’s employment after speaking with the company’s legal counsel.
The charges stem from a two-year period between 2015-17 when LaVoie worked at Shingobee Builders, a contracting firm in Loretto in Hennepin County. The criminal complaint alleges LaVoie swindled Shingobee out of $350,000 while working as project manager on projects where Shingobee was the general contractor by having subcontractors submit inflated bids. He then allegedly either deposited the extra money in his personal bank account or split it with executives at the subcontracting companies.
Brainerd Schools Superintendent Laine Larson said last week the district reviewed the project LaVoie worked on and found no instances of impropriety. She said the district will continue to work with ICS Consulting.
Quraishi echoed Larson’s statement, noting ICS Consulting reviewed the bidding process on the Harrison project and did not find any issues. Because this project is with a public entity — as opposed to the projects LaVoie worked on with Shingobee Builders -- Quraishi said LaVoie would not have had the authority to negotiate bids as he allegedly did before. There are also multiple levels of review on each school district project, Quraishi added.
LaVoie did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
“So he didn’t have the authority to do anything associated with it, but at the same time, I think once we identified the fact that he had done something like that, it was just a character issue and did not meet our ethics requirements,” Quraishi said.
LaVoie is due in Hennepin County District Court Sept. 18.