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Stamford project up to 11 "Stop Work" orders Posted by on

Carpenters in Stamford this week held a demonstration at the site of a construction project where "Stop Work" orders were issued by the state because of apparent violations of laws related to workers' compensation insurance and payroll. The Stamford Advocate published a story on the action and underlying issue in their print edition.

Falcon Construction, based in Floral Park, New York, was cited by the Connecticut Department of Labor last week while working on a 209-unit building that is part of the Park Square West IV project. Union staff had previously talked to workers employed on the site who had given them information that led them to believe that the company was misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Dan Ravizza, a researcher with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, was quoted in the story saying the "Stop Work" order was "the direct evidence of labor practice violations committed by Falcon Construction. I'm mainly concerned for the taxpayers in this situation. When the contractor is skipping out on payroll taxes, that revenue is made up by the taxpayer."

Another, now completed, portion of the Park Square West IV project was the subject of ten "Stop Work" orders.

Morganti Group of Danbury is the general contractor on the project. Trinity Financial of Boston is the developer. Neither responded to the paper’s inquiries to explain the violations on their project.

RI fraud unit makes first big splash Posted by on

The state of Rhode Island has sent its first significant message to the construction industry that Governor Raimondo's administration is serious about cracking down on payroll fraud and wage theft. Yesterday, it announced it had finalized a settlement agreement with Cardoso Construction that will have the company pay a total of $730,000 for a list of violations related to misclassification of workers.

Twenty-seven carpenters who were victimized by the scheme will each be paid about $13,000 in owed wages, totaling more than $351,000. An additional $351,000 in penalties will be paid to the state as well as a $27,000 fine; $1,000 for each employee.

The state's investigation was the result of outreach work done by Local 94 Representative Tom Savoie to carpenters working for Cardoso on a project at the University of Rhode Island. Savoie passed away earlier this year.

The state of Rhode Island formed a Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification last year. It brings together the Attorney General's office, the Division of Taxation, Department of Business Regulation, Department of Public Safety and Workers' Compensation Court, all of which hold a piece of enforcement jurisdiction regarding misclassification. Such task forces have been effective investigative bodies in other states because they allow agencies to share information they otherwise would not, leading to faster, more effective prosecutions.