November 3, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – The latest big-time contractor ordered to take a time-out after cheating workers out of their hard-earned pay has spent the last 50 years working on public school properties, court papers reveal.
On Friday, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer disbarred Long Island City-based Astoria General Contracting Corp. after determining that the company had ripped off three employees to the tune of $735,000 in unpaid wages and benefits. Astoria General Contracting Corp. also faces $1.1 million in fines.
“Three men are going to get the wages they deserve and another contractor has learned the hard way that we take our enforcement of prevailing wage very seriously,” Stringer said on Friday.
The comptroller’s actions follows the conclusion of an 11-day trial at the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings earlier this fall, which found Astoria General Contracting Corp. falsified certified payroll records by completely omitting two employees and reporting payment of prevailing wages and benefits to a third.
Neither Astoria General Contracting Corp., or the Department of Education could be reached for comment. Court papers, however, reportedly show that the company began painting various municipal properties way back in 1965, and over the years has steadily moved on to more complex projects. Since 2000, the firm had been repairing rolling doors found inside public schools.
According to Stringer’s office, Astoria General Contracting Corp., now joins more than 25 other outfits that the comptroller has disbarred in recent years. The office has also hit crooked firms with nearly $10 million in unpaid wages and interest, and over $1 million in penalties, since 2014.
Over the summer, the comptroller announced that it was holding $3.7 million in unclaimed prevailing wages and benefits for cheated workers. So far, 21 people have submitted claims. A total of 13 have been awarded nearly $158,000 in unpaid wages and interest.
This latest disbarment means that Astoria General Contracting Corp. will not be able to do business with the city for five years. It’s the first time the company has ever been disbarred, according to Stringer’s office.