Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Announces Indictment of New Hampshire Contractor in Connection with Prevailing Wage Law Violations
Premier provided waterproofing and damp proofing services on a number of public construction projects throughout Massachusetts, and employed workers who installed waterproofing materials on foundations, walls, elevator shafts and other vertical building surfaces. This type of work requires payment at the masonry/waterproofing prevailing wage rate.
The Attorney General's Office began an investigation after receiving a complaint alleging that Premier failed to pay the required masonry waterproofers' prevailing wage rate to employees at numerous public construction projects across the state. The criminal investigation arose after Premier and Bissonnette failed to comply with 12 civil citations issued during November 2004 and March 2006, in which the Attorney General's Office ordered Premier to pay over $36,000 in restitution to 24 employees for unpaid prevailing wages. Under the Attorney General's enforcement authority, the Attorney General may seek indictments against any employer who fails to comply with the requirements of the Attorney General's citations issued for wage law violations.
Investigators from the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division discovered that during November 2001 through May 2005, Premier and Bissonette allegedly did not pay prevailing wages to their employees on the following Massachusetts public works construction projects: UMass Dartmouth Dormitory project, UMass Boston Campus Center project, Crisafulli Elementary School project, Clinton Elementary School project, Normandin Middle School project, UMass Lowell Campus Center project, Shirley Middle School project, Westford Middle School project, Quinsigamond Community College project, Danvers Middle School project, Lunenburg Primary School project and the Weymouth High School project.
Investigators also allege that Premier and Bissonette, in his capacity as corporate officer, failed to submit true and accurate certified payroll records for the same projects, by failing to accurately report the employees' occupational classifications.
Under the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law, contractors and subcontracts engaged in public construction projects must pay their employees a special minimum wage. The required wage rate is based on the occupational classification for type of work they perform. The law also requires that contractors and subcontractors working on public construction projects must submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authority on a weekly basis. These records must contain the employees' identities, their hourly rates of pay, the job classifications of the work performed, and information about deductions taken from their pay.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Bissonette and his company today. They are scheduled to be arraigned on November 18, 2009, in Suffolk Superior Court.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Karla E. Zarbo, and with assistance from Amy L. Goyer, Chief of Investigations, both of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Fair Labor Division.