The development group seeking city approvals to build a luxury housing complex on the Astoria waterfront has come under fire because one of its principals hired a firm connected to a scandal-scarred contractor to do work on another Queens site, the Daily News has learned.
Alma Realty, the lead builder behind the Astoria Cove project, hired the company, SSC High Rise Construction, to do foundation work at another project it is developing nearby, on Vernon Blvd.
“This contractor may be working for Alma but will not be employed at the Astoria Cove site,” said a spokesman for the Astoria Cove developers. “In light of allegations that have been brought to our attention, we are asking Alma to investigate these claims further and take the appropriate action.”
SSC High Rise Construction is run in part by Michael Mahoney, according to court filings and a signed affidavit by a former employee.
Mahoney and six companies he controlled were ordered by a state Supreme Court judge to pay $1.6 million in back wages in 2011, in regards to a suit brought by then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo charged them with withholding millions of dollars in employees’ overtime and creating a racially tiered hierarchy of wages on construction sites, where white Irish employees were paid $25 an hour, black employees received $18 and Latino employees, $15.
Mahoney also pled guilty to felony tax evasion in 2011 in a suit brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and was sentenced to two years’ probation.