For Immediate Release - December 18, 2009

Lowell Asbestos Removal Company Cited Nearly $326,000 in Restitution and Penalties for Violating the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Laws

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has cited a Lowell asbestos abatement company for violating the state's prevailing wage laws at two public construction sites in Massachusetts. The citations require Vandy Duch, age 47, and Mark Pech, age 45, both of Lowell, and their company, Northeast Asbestos Abatement, Inc. (Northeast Asbestos), to pay nearly $276,000 in restitution and a $15,000 fine for failure to pay the prevailing wage. In addition, Duch, Pech and Northeast Asbestos are required to pay an additional $35,000 penalty for failure to submit certified payroll records to the awarding authorities and failure to furnish certified and general payroll records to the Attorney General's Office for inspection.

In June 2008, the Attorney General's Office received multiple complaints alleging that Duch, Pech and Northeast failed to pay the prevailing wage for asbestos removal work at two public works projects in Massachusetts. Investigators from the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division discovered that Duch, Pech and Northeast Asbestos had failed to pay 17 employees a total of over $106,440 in wages for work performed from July 2006 through December 2007 at the Bedford High School renovations public works project in Bedford, as well as over $169,450 in wages to 11 employees who performed work from December 2006 through April 2007 for the company at the Oliver Ames High School public works project in Marshfield. As a result of the violations, the company is required to pay restitution to the workers as well as a $15,000 fine.

In addition, the company is required to pay a $15,000 penalty for failing to submit true and accurate certified payroll records at the Bedford and Marshfield projects; a $15,000 fine for failing to furnish certified payroll records for inspection to a representative of the Attorney General's Office for inspection at both projects; and a $5,000 fine for failing to submit general payroll records for inspection.

The Prevailing Wage and Records Keeping Laws apply to all construction work performed on public works projects in Massachusetts. The Prevailing Wage Laws allow all contractors bidding on public works projects to enjoy a "level playing field" by standardizing the rate of pay the workers will earn. The Records Keeping Laws allow state agencies to monitor the spending of taxpayer monies on public construction projects.

The Attorney General's Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the prevailing wage, payment of wages laws, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe they have been misclassified or that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Miranda Jones and Inspector Nuno Ricardo Fontes Montrond both of Attorney General Coakley's Fair Labor Division.

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