Brooklyn Roofer Cheated Immigrant Workers, Owes $327,000 in Wages: City Comptroller

The company is accused of persuading workers, many of whom didn't speak English, to sign releases falsely stating that they had been paid in full

A Brooklyn roofing contractor stiffed immigrant employees out of $327,000 in wages and benefits for work on a Staten Island project, the city comptroller said Thursday in announcing that the company is being barred from future public projects for five years.

Beacon Restoration Inc. underpaid 24 Latino and South Asian employees who worked in 2010 and 2011 on the installation of a new roof at the Port Richmond Water and Pollution Control Plant, said Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Beacon falsified payroll records to show that the workers were paid $64 per hour, he said. The company actually paid them wages of $140 to $180 a day.

"Everyone deserves to be paid for their labor, but these 24 workers, all of them immigrants, were robbed and exploited," Stringer said.

"We will ensure these individuals receive the wages they deserve and put out word yet again to unscrupulous contractors: If you take advantage of your workers, we will take action against you."

The case against the contractor began in June 2011, when a worker complained about being underpaid to a Department of Environmental Protection official.

Three months later, Beacon and Volmar Construction, a prime contractor on the project, persuaded workers, many of whom didn't speak English, to sign releases falsely stating that they had been paid in full, Stringer said.

Volmar denies that it worked in concert with Beacon to generate the false documents, said attorney Gayle Rosen, who represents Volmar.

"That's untrue," she said of the allegation. "Volmar learned that Beacon had not paid the workers and was left holding the bag."

Though Beacon is being barred for five years from work on any public project in the state, Volmar is being held responsible for the financial aspects of the settlement with the city comptroller's office, Rosen said.

The settlement calls for the payments of $327,000 in unpaid wages, nearly $20,000 in interest and $17,000 in civil penalties.

The city comptroller's office confirmed that Volmar isn't barred from future public projects, but is responsible for the payments.

"Volmar is responsible for the conduct of its subcontractors," said Stringer spokesman Eric Sumberg.

A telephone call to Beacon went unanswered.

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