Sunday, May 16, 2010

Electricians doing work on schools get hosed

From the Times Ledger:

The operators of a Long Island City electric contracting company have alleged that a nonprofit company that builds charter schools for minority students in the five boroughs is shortchanging them out of more than $25,000 for work they did on a site in Washington Heights.

Siegfried Espinoza, owner of Rico Electric, and business partner Barry Hirsch said they were not paid in full for electrical work they performed as a sub-contractor on the New Heights Academy Charter School, located along Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan’s Washington Heights.

They allege that Manhattan nonprofit Civic Builders, which develops charter schools, originally planned to pay them an estimated $600,000 for work on the school. Espinoza had said the developer did not pay his company until several months after they completed the project and that Rico Electric was shorted $60,000.

Rico’s contract was with Kel-Mar Designs Inc., the general contractor that had been brought on by TLM Group, Civic’s construction manager. Espinoza said he and his partner will settle with Civic for $17,500 with an additional $7,500 each from Kel-Mar and TLM.

The total amount that Rico Electric will be underpaid is now estimated between $25,000 and $30,000, Espinoza contended.

From the Daily News:

A Queens school construction contractor skimmed more than $2 million off his city projects by failing to pay workers properly, the state attorney general's office said Wednesday.

Kostas (Gus) Andrikopoulosis is accused of cheating the School Construction Authority by pretending to pay fake workers - and compensating real ones less than he reported.

"This employer pocketed millions of dollars of taxpayer money and stole from his own workers in the process," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.

His company, Hara Electric Corp., has received $22 million in contracting work from the School Construction Authority since 2005.

"To deny workers their rightful wages is illegal and wrong, and it will not be tolerated. Employers should be on notice that they must pay legal wages or they will face the consequences," Cuomo said.

Andrikopoulosis faces up to 25 years in jail if convicted.


Anonymous said...

Its done often in the construction business - they are called "ghosts "on the payroll.
Then they take their paychecks and cash them at the local bar. Whallahhh - CASH!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know about the ghosts but what about the workers that were'nt getting their pay. It was a school job and that is a prevailing wage job. I wonder if they were getting paid the prevailing wage?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The Cschool Construction Authority as all NYC Dept who have construction performed are required to pay prevailing wage - There is extensive paperwork to be filled out each week - everything must tie into the Form 940 Quarterly Tax Form submitted. So my guess is they are getting prevailing unless the super for SCA is not collecting the sign in sheets or watching. Ghosts dont know they are getting a paycheck-they only do this once of twice a week to a person so these guys never checks there W-2 closely at then end of the year to see if it matches the Year to Date on their last pay stub.

Klink Cannoli said...

The corruption is rife on both ends of the spectrum, those hiring the contractors and the contractors. And because Charters get State subsidies, we all get hammered and screwed.