Sugar Land business owner pleads guilty to conspiracy

Sugar Land business owner pleads guilty to conspiracy
Sugar Land business owner pleads guilty to conspiracy

A Sugar Land business owner who made at least $55 million in local government work has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a yearlong bribery scheme to win contracts from another company.

Sudhakar Kalaga, 56, and the founder of engineering firm KIT Professionals, admitted to submitting false bids from non-existent construction firms to make his firm’s bids appear lower, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. Kalaga also acknowledged paying millions of dollars to an executive of the victim company, Toshiba International Corporation, for participating in the scheme, which took place from 2010 to 2019. The executive has since died, according to court documents.

READ MORE: Sugar Land firm that won $55 million from city, county contracts under investigation for bribery scheme

“The victim company would not have paid Kalaga’s companies’ invoices if it had known about the falsified bids or chargebacks,” the announcement said.

While the case relates only to Kalaga’s efforts to illegally secure private sector contracts, records show he has been a longtime city and county contractor and has donated heavily to local politicians.

From 2008 to 2022, KIT Professionals has received at least $50 million in payments from the city of Houston under 152 contracts, mostly as an engineering subcontractor but also as a general contractor on several occasions, and remains engaged in dozens of active contracts, according to city records.

Kalaga and his wife, who are also affiliated with KIT Professionals, contributed $93,550 to 25 city candidates from 2007 to 2019. Mayor Sylvester Turner tops the list, receiving $25,000, plus $2,000 to help fund his 2016 inauguration events .

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City Attorney Arturo Michel said last month that the city was in the process of identifying open contracts involving KIT Professionals and removing the firm from ongoing work.

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