PHOENIX, AZ (July 28, 2011) – The Civil Services Division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announces that Ford Motor Company has paid a $225,000 penalty for illegally constructing a test track at its Arizona Proving Grounds in Wittmann, Arizona without a required permit. The fine is part of an agreement resolving a series of unpermitted structures at the Proving Grounds, which is operated by the company under lease from the Arizona State Land Department.
“By starting construction before securing necessary permits, Ford showed a callous disregard for regulations designed to protect the interests of Maricopa County and its citizens,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This penalty should send a message that no company, no matter how big, is above the law,” he added.
In late August 2010, Ford applied for a permit to allow construction of a 2.1 mile straightaway test track on the site. In early January 2011, Ford requested a meeting with the Planning and Development Department which resulted in an expedited permitting process due to the project’s urgency. Approximately one month later, the Department learned that Ford had, in fact, constructed the track despite the absence of permits. A Stop Work Order was issued at the direction of the Director and a violation case opened. The Department subsequently learned that construction on the track had commenced on November 1, 2010 and that other unpermitted work had occurred on the site over the years.
After three hearings, the parties reached a resolution and entered into a Compliance Agreement. Ford has agreed to secure all necessary permits for the site within the next eighteen months.