Government investigation of fraud, corruption in Southeastern Massachusetts sand and gravel industry

  Katherine Harrelson 

Numerous sources confirm that the Massachusetts Office of Inspector General (OIG) is actively investigating the sand and gravel industry in Southeastern Massachusetts. The OIG made the investigation public on March 23, 2023 when three OIG investigators appeared at the Town Hall in Carver. The OIG interviewed witnesses from the finance and town manager’s office. They seized records of the Earth Removal Committee (ERC) and other municipal boards. The OIG investigates waste, fraud and abuse of public resources.

OIG investigation targets include town officials, trucking, and mining companies, according to sources

Sources report that the OIG visited the homes of former Carver Earth Removal Committee members on March 23, 2023 to obtain records and interview witnesses. The ERC is responsible under the Town bylaws for issuing permits for earth removal, collecting fees, and monitoring activities. Applicants for permits must meet strict criteria and prove the volume of earth to be removed is the minimum necessary for the project. It is obvious that the massive, decades long earth removal projects in Carver to not qualify for permits.

Carver ERC under investigation

The Carver Selectboard confirmed that the ERC is under investigation when it put the topic on its meeting agenda in on June 6, 2023.

Some ERC members gave themselves permits, including the chair of the Carver ERC, Slocum Gibbs Cranberry Co. owner John Garretson, III. Garretson ran the ERC for about 30-years until suddenly resigning when CLWC started asking questions. Reportedly, Garretson is under investigation.

Companies under investigation

Carver Finance Committee Chair and Vice Chair of Conservation Commission, Alan Germain works as a contractor hauling sand for SLT Construction and possibly other mining companies. Germain’s company is AGT Construction. SLT runs a mining operation on Spring Street in Carver and obtained a permit from the Conservation Commission while Germain was a member. On March 25, 2023, two days after the OIG visited Carver Town Hall, Germain engaged in a long dialogue on Facebook social media. He stated, “Several of us have received letters from the Inspector General today….If those responsible think we are intimidated, think again.” Indeed, Germain and others in the industry continued to harass and intimidate activists exercising their right to free speech by raising awareness of the mining. Many have filed police and civil rights complaints.

Below: Alan Germain of AGT Trucking that hauls sand and gravel in Carver post on March 25, 2023:

Most of the sand and gravel mining in the region is conducted by Wareham based A.D. Makepeace Cranberry Co. of Wareham, MA. The new report, Sand Wars in Cranberry Country: An investigation into the money, politics and corruption behind sand mining and its silent environmental crisis in Southeastern Massachusetts documents 110 mining sites. About 70% of the volume of earth removed according to the report is by the cranberry industry. About 50% of the total volume is attributed to Makepeace, the state’s largest landowner and world’s largest cranberry company. Is Makepeace at the center of the OIG investigation because of the many permits issued by the Carver ERC to Makepeace and the extent of the company’s Carver operations?

Read more about Cranberry Country Corruption here.

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