The builder of the Polar Park baseball stadium in Worcester has agreed to pay $1.9 million to resolve findings that the company misled city officials about its inclusion of minority-owned businesses in the publicly funded construction project.

The joint venture company, Gilbane/Hunt, agreed Wednesday to pay the funds to the state Office of the Attorney General, resolving allegations that it violated the state’s False Claims act by “falsely stating in its bid for the Polar Park project that it planned to maximize participation of women and minority-owned businesses,” court records show. Once selected for the project, Gilbane/Hunt “misrepresented” the participation of disadvantaged businesses, state officials said.

“Construction companies in Massachusetts must live up to their promises to create opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses on public projects,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a written statement. “If a company says that the inclusion of diverse businesses is a priority in an effort to win a public contract, we are going to ensure that they are held accountable for those representations.”

John Gallagher, a spokesman for the Gilbane/Hunt partnership, said that while the company "fully cooperated with this investigation, we strongly disagree with the allegations and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability." Gallagher said the team "is proud of constructing the Polar Park project and our commitment to diversity, inclusion and driving economic opportunity in the community."

The attorney general’s investigation began after the GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting reported in April 2021 that Gilbane/Hunt failed to meet its contracting goals. The state’s Office of the Attorney General cited the GBH investigation in its press release and said a “subsequent investigation” found that the company made “material misrepresentations” in its bid for the Polar Park project, among other issues.

As part of the bid to win the right to lead the project, Gilbane/Hunt had committed to a goal of having 20% of the work to women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and initially claimed to have achieved 17% participation, with about $4 million paid to minority firms.

But GBH News requested a list of companies that had received those payments and discovered it was full of inaccuracies. In some cases, companies that were categorized as minority-owned were not in fact minority-owned. In other cases, minority-owned businesses got paid far less than Gilbane/Hunt took credit for.

The day after the GBH story published, Gilbane/Hunt admitted that its initial numbers were inaccurate, confirming that minority-owned firms had only been paid $513,000. Women- and minority-owned businesses combined got about 13% of the work on the ball park, the company said.

The settlement agreement – filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court – notes that prior to April 2021, Gilbane/Hunt did not track the rate of women and minority owned businesses in the project. Instead, the builder relied merely on commitments made by subcontractors to employ diverse partners, neglecting to follow up on whether those commitments were met.

According to the settlement document, at a monthly meeting of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority in February 2021, Gilbane/Hunt officials “expressly stated’’ that women and minority-owned businesses were getting 18 percent of the work when, “in fact, the actual rate was less than 12%.” Gilbane/Hunt in court records says it does not “admit or deny the allegations.”

At a public hearing in April 2021, after the GBH News story broke, Worcester Redevelopment Authority member Tony Tilton asked, “Why didn't Gilbane know that they were reporting the wrong numbers? And why didn't we know that they were reporting the wrong numbers? . . . We sit here looking sad and foolish, patting ourselves on the back.”

Under the settlement agreement, Gilbane/Hunt will pay the state $1.9 million, with the attorney general’s office returning $500,000 of that to the City of Worcester to promote more diverse participation in government contracting.

In addition, the two construction giants that make up that joint partnership – Gilbane Building Co. of Providence and Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis – agreed to hire independent monitors to ensure their compliance with minority and women inclusion commitments on their Massachusetts public-sector projects for the next three years.