Family-owned company that boasts about building border wall faster gets government contract

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Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Yuma, Ariz. The 30-foot high wall replaces a five-mile section of Normandy barrier and post-n-beam fencing, shown at left, along the the International border that separates Mexico and the United States. Construction began as federal officials revealed a list of Defense Department projects to be cut to pay for President Donald Trump’s wall. (AP Photo/Matt York)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota company that has long claimed it can build a U.S.-Mexico border wall cheaper and faster than competitors has been awarded a contract to construct a portion of the structure in Yuma, Arizona.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel. The company will receive nearly $270 million of a $400 million contract to design and build physical barriers along about 31 miles (50 kilometers) of the southern border.

Company President Tommy Fisher is a GOP supporter and has appeared on conservative media touting his company as the best pick for building the wall that President Donald Trump has made a priority.

The family-owned company unsuccessfully sued the government in April when it was not awarded a similar contract.

According to the Washington Post, the private nonprofit advocacy group We Build The Wall hired fisher to build a border barrier during the summer in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The Post said the Fisher was awarded a $400 million contract to build in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Ariz.

The redirection of $3.6 billion in military construction funds will help pay for 175 miles of border wall in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The transfer of funds, which was revealed in a Sept. 3 memo from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, will be used to “deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border and channel migrants to ports of entry,” Esper wrote.

Military projects that had been slated in 23 states, 19 countries and three U.S. territories would be affected by the diversion of these funds.

The most border wall segments from these funds will be constructed near Yuma, Arizona ⁠— 67 total miles, as part of four different projects. This includes building 31 miles of wall through the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in the San Cristobal Valley of the Sonoran Desert, and the 31 miles of barrier Fisher’s company will replace through the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge.

Fisher’s company has had several legal issues in the past, including more than $1 million in fines for environmental and tax violations. According to CNN, a former co-owner of the company pleaded guilty to tax fraud, and was sentenced to prison a decade ago. The company also admitted to defrauding the federal government by impeding the IRS. The former executive, who’s a brother of the current company owner, is no longer associated with it, CNN said.

Border Report contributed to this story.

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