February 13, 2017
Charged Developer Also Built Crystal Run Projects
The developer for two projects in the Hudson Valley that the Cuomo administration awarded $25 million - even though they were already being built - was Columbia Development, the Albany-based firm whose principal is facing a state bid-rigging charge in a unrelated matter.
February 13, 2017
More people needed in the skilled trades, experts say
Not enough workers are going into the building trades, and that could place a speed bump on economic development effort in the Mohawk Valley, experts say.
"It's hard to find a young man that wants to go into the trades. Or a woman," said Bobby Catrombone, owner of RFC Contracting Inc. in Utica.
February 8, 2017
LPCiminelli Claims Bid-Rigging Case Has Cost Company Billions
An attorney for fomer LPCiminelli CEO Louis Ciminelli claimed the Buffalo-based development company has lost $3.88 billion dollars worth of inventory and work because of the company’s alleged involvement in a bid-rigging scheme. According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, about 21 contracts were lost or canceled in 2015 and 2016.
February 6, 2017
Politicians call for more apprenticeships to fill need for skilled labor
New Jersey's federal and state politicians are proposing plans to expand apprenticeship programs, through public-private partnership funding, in order to fill skilled labor jobs that remain vacant in the U.S.
Though there are roughly 10 million unemployed individuals in the country, 4 million jobs exist in manufacturing and other skilled labor jobs, according to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
February 5, 2017
MCVTS expands carpentry program
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District has expanded its partnership with the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and will now offer carpentry training to students at its Perth Amboy campus. Previously available only to students on the East Brunswick and Piscataway campuses, the program, through the New Jersey Carpenters Apprentice Training and Education Fund, provides high school juniors and senior with a path to an apprenticeship program after graduation.
January 18, 2017
Moonachie's Bison Floors owner charged with fraud
An Illinois man has been arrested as a result of a investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Financial Crimes Unit.
January 17, 2017
Games GCs and Subs (Labor Brokers and Insurance Agents) Play: Worker’s Comp
A recent post by Joe Paduda, principal of Health Strategies Associates, in his blog, Managed Care Matters, titled “Construction Labor Fraud is Screwing Everyone” was the second in his series on labor fraud and the damage it is doing to the insurance industry. In this issue, he interviewed Matt Capece, representative of the General President at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, about how bad the worker’s comp problem has become in some key states like Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
October 23, 2015
Contractor formally charged in workplace scam
Northampton County contractor was charged Friday with violating state law regarding the hiring of employees, and lying about it to a grand jury.
Mark J. White, 48, owner of Salukas & White Contracting Inc. in Bethlehem, said little during a 30-minute arraignment by District Judge Antonia Grifo of Easton.
Grifo told White, of the 100 block of Becker Avenue in Allen Township, that he faces three misdemeanor counts of violating the state Contractor Workplace Misclassification Act and two counts each of perjury and false swearing.
She said the maximum penalties for the charges are 21 years in prison and a $45,000 fine, with most of the potential punishment stemming from the perjury and false-swearing allegations.
District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday that a county grand jury found White violated the act by misclassifying workers as independent subcontractors — instead of employees — to avoid paying fair wages as well as taxes and workers' benefits such as unemployment insurance.
Morganelli says Bethlehem contractor cheated workers, state
In addition, the grand jury found that from 2011 through 2013, White and the company funneled nearly $900,000 to individuals, one of whom was described as a middleman, who "acted as ATM machines" in paying those workers off the books. The actions defrauded the state and other entities of thousands of dollars in taxes, authorities allege.
The grand jury began investigating White and his company in April 2014. Jurors heard from a former company employee, the "so-called subcontractors" and a current employee. Jurors determined those people gave credible testimony, while White, who testified Aug. 20, did not, Morganelli said this week.
ifo noted both the company and White are charged with the state law violations.
White appeared with his attorney, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, who said his client has no prior criminal record. Fitzpatrick also said White is a longstanding member of the community with family and business ties.
"He has appeared here today voluntarily," Fitzpatrick told Grifo. "There is no reason to set bail."
The judge released White on his own recognizance without bail. But she set conditions, including that he must not intimidate or retaliate against any of the alleged victims or witnesses. She scheduled a preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Nov. 2.
Neither White nor Fitzpatrick answered questions before the arraignment, and they left court immediately afterward. Fitzpatrick, who said he represents both White and the company, told The Morning Call earlier that White "emphatically denies" the accusations and White intends to present his side during trial.
The Construction Workplace Misclassification Act, which took effect in 2011, is supposed to crack down on contractors who misclassify workers, but during a news conference Monday, Morganelli said the law has deficiencies and called on lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf to strengthen it.
Morganelli also said the grand jury's findings were being forwarded to the state Department of Labor & Industry, which enforces the law, and the IRS.
Salukas & White is a commercial specialty subcontractor dealing in metal stud, drywall and acoustical ceilings, and its customers come from a 70-mile radius of Bethlehem, according to its website.
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