Department Investigations Lead to Contractors Facing Prevailing Wage Violations, Criminal Charges
An investigation conducted by the Missouri Labor Department’s Division of Labor Standards (DLS) has led to charges being filed against a Michigan contractor for failing to pay workers the appropriate prevailing wage rates on projects in Scott County.
Municipal Construction Inc. (MCI) was the general contractor hired to perform work for the Scott County Public Water System Supply District No. 4 in Scott County, Mo. Missouri law requires that all workers on construction projects for a public body be paid the prevailing wage rates.
The DLS received four complaints against MCI for failing to pay the appropriate prevailing wage rates owed to workers for the type of work they performed. On April 20, 2010, Scott County Prosecutor Paul R. Boyd filed 11 criminal counts against Norman Bass, President of MCI, of Goodrich, Michigan, who faces five counts of felony forgery and six counts of violating the Missouri Prevailing Wage laws. Tom Lacosse, Project Superintendent, of South Lake, Texas, faces six counts of violating the Missouri Prevailing Wage Laws.
The DLS investigators discovered the contractors violated the prevailing wage law on numerous occasions by failing to pay workers the straight time and overtime wages owed to them for the type of work they did on the project. The Department’s audits revealed at least 17 affected workers who were underpaid a total of $65,788.05.
A civil lawsuit also has been filed in the U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Missouri, against Bass, Lacosse, and Todd Lacosse, Construction Manager for MCI. The suit filed against the individuals alleges they violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by operating and conducting the affairs of MCI both directly and indirectly, through a pattern of alleged racketeering activity.
According to the court complaint, which was filed April 22, 2010, the trio used credit applications, telephone, and mail communications as a means to defraud. These civil violations are alleged to have occurred in Missouri.
“The prevailing wage law is designed, in part, to prevent out-of-state contractors from underbidding local contractors by paying substandard wages and failing to pay their taxes,” said Rebman. “Our Department works to ensure that Missourians’ tax dollars building our public infrastructure don’t go to unscrupulous contractors that undercut local companies, local workers and the local economy.”
The Department urges all employees to file a complaint with the DLS if they feel they are not being paid the proper wages. To file a wage complaint or to learn more about Missouri’s prevailing wage rates, visit www.labor.mo.gov/dls/prevailingwage/index.asp.