Morris County company fined $3.2 million for wage theft in N.Y.

NEW YORK, NY – New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer Monday assessed $3.2 million in fines against K.S. Contracting Corporation and its owner, Paresh Shah, for cheating dozens of workers out of the prevailing wages and benefits they were owed under the New York State Labor Law. In addition to being assessed $3.2 million in unpaid wages, interest, and civil penalties, K.S Contracting and Mr. Shah will be barred from working on New York City and State contracts for five years.  K.S. Contracting was named as one of the worst wage theft violators in New York in a report by the Center for Popular Democracy in 2015.

According to online records, K.S. Contracting has numerous addresses throughout Parsippany.

“With President Trump taking clear aim at immigrants across the country, we need to stand up and protect the foreign-born New Yorkers who keep our City running. Every New Yorker has rights, and my office won’t back down in defending them,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “Contractors might think they can take advantage of immigrants, but today we’re sending a strong message: my office will fight for every worker in New York City. This is about basic fairness and accountability.”

K.S. Contracting was awarded more than $21 million in contracts by the City Departments of Design and Construction, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation between 2007 and 2010. Projects included the Morrisania Health Center in the Bronx, the 122 Community Center in Manhattan, the Barbara S. Kleinman Men’s Residence in Brooklyn, the North Infirmary Command Building on Rikers Island, Bronx River Park, the District 15 Sanitation Garage in Brooklyn, and various City sidewalks in Queens, Stringer said.

The Comptroller’s Office began investigating the company after an employee filed a complaint with the office in May 2010. The multi-year investigation used subpoenas, video evidence, union records, and City agency data to uncover a kickback scheme that preyed on immigrant workers, Stringer said.

After a four-day administrative trial in May 2016, the Comptroller found that K.S. Contracting routinely issued paychecks to just half of its workforce and then required those employees to cash the checks and surrender the money to company supervisors. The Comptroller further found that those supervisors would then redistribute the cash to all of the employees on a jobsite, paying them at rates significantly below prevailing wages, and that K.S. Contracting falsely reported to the City agencies that all employees on the jobsite who received checks were paid the prevailing wage, Stringer said.

Between August 2008 and November 2011, the company cheated at least 36 workers out of $1.7 million in wages and benefits on seven New York City public works projects. K.S. Contracting reported that it paid its workers combined wage and benefit rates starting at $50 per hour but actually paid daily cash salaries starting at $90 per day.  The majority of the workers impacted were immigrants of Latino, South Asian, or West Indian descent, Stringer said.

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By: Jay Edwards
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