2 men created firm to bid on government contracts
By Linda Satter
A federal jury spent all afternoon Wednesday deliberating the fate of two Little Rock businessmen accused of defrauding a government program that helps service-disabled veterans, only to be sent home for the evening after indicating that a verdict wasn’t close by day’s end.
The jury of mostly women heard evidence for five days, followed by closing arguments Wednesday morning, on 28 felony charges apiece against Ross Alan Hope, owner of a Little Rock-based heating and air company called Powers of Arkansas, and his best friend, Mikel Kullander, owner of Kullander Construction in Little Rock.
Each man is charged with mail-fraud conspiracy; three counts of major fraud, each involving more than $1 million; and 24 counts of mail fraud. They’re accused of falsely claiming that a business they formed in 2007, DAV Construction, was owned and operated by a service-disabled veteran, so that it would qualify for million-dollar contracts set aside for veteran-owned businesses.