These Contractors Have a Troubling Record
Casino Development Group
Principal has violent criminal history[i]
Casino principal Peter Colavito has been convicted of a number of violent crimes. In 1984, Colavito was convicted of robbery in the first degree, robbery in the second degree, and grand larceny in the second degree, after he pressed a loaded .32 caliber revolver against a victim’s back during a robbery and said “I got a gun, if you turn around you’ve had it.”
In 1985, Colavito pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered shot gun and a silencer without serial numbers. He was sentenced to prison for eight years and ordered to pay twenty thousand dollars in fines.
In 1997, Colavito pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit robbery after being charged with conspiring to unlawfully take money and property from an armored car. Colavito also pleaded guilty to felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Artistic render of the March 2019 Wage Theft settlement signed by the plaintiff and Casino Development Group.
See the full Settlement
Recently settled wage theft suit.
Casino recently settled a lawsuit brought by a worker who alleged that Casino and a related firm called Monolithic Contracting didn’t pay him for between 22.5 and 27 hours a week that he spent driving a van on their behalf, including failing to pay overtime for any hours spent as a driver that exceeded 40 hours a week.[ii] Casino and Monolithic agreed to pay $12,500 to settle the case.[iii]
[i] See Durst fact sheet, Summer 2018
[ii] See Amaya v. Monolithic Contracting et al., complaint https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sMcrl_MXFOouux5r_rv_ZAbDeJ-v0gq2
[iii] $12,500 settlement in Amaya v. Monolithic Contracting https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eXlfouEMRCcefAB3Jzmm3-shY3010PFO
Wage theft settlements total nearly $1M, additional case ongoing.
Highbury recently settled 2 class action lawsuits from workers who alleged they were owed unpaid overtime wages. Highbury settled the first lawsuit with 22 plaintiffs for $625,000,[i] and settled with 7 plaintiffs from the second lawsuit for 326,344.24; however, the second suit remains ongoing with the rest of the plaintiffs in the suit outside of the 7 who settled continuing to press their claims.[ii]
Nine workers rescued by fire department, treated for injuries following unsafe Carbon Monoxide exposure
In February of 2019, the Fire Department had to rescue and treat workers overcome by Carbon Monoxide exposure on a Highbury job site as a result of a gasoline-powered generator running in a confined space.[iii] DOB inspectors noted in a violation issued to
FDNY rescues 9 Highbury workers exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a generator that was being run in a closed space. Photo: NBC-TV NEWS NY
See the News Report
Highbury that there were “no safety measures in place to safeguard personnel.”[iv]
Nine workers were hospitalized as a result of the Carbon Monoxide exposure, with four suffering serious injuries. According to news reports, Carbon Monoxide levels on the job site had reached 700 parts per million – 70 times the level considered dangerous. An hour and a half after the rescue, Carbon Monoxide levels were still at 350 parts per million.[v]
[i] See settlement in Zamora v. Highbury, https://drive.google.com/open?id=11iB7rAY7NQxk3qClRJ5vt5BmC7i--tyG
Highbury Concrete, $326,344.24 settlement with seven plaintiffs in Fabre v. Highbury https://ecf.nyed.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/HistDocQry.pl?589220493101011-L_ShowDktTxt_1-0-397625-128-416-
[ii] See $326,344.24 settlement with seven plaintiffs in Fabre v. Highbury https://ecf.nyed.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/HistDocQry.pl?589220493101011-L_ShowDktTxt_1-0-397625-128-416-.
For evidence that other plaintiffs continue to press their claims, see docket text from Fabre v. Highbury, 1/18/18 https://ecf.nyed.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/HistDocQry.pl?629726791022261-L_ShowDktTxt_1-0-397625--195- .
[iii] http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ECBQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&ecbin=35383093R ; http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ECBQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&ecbin=35383094Z
Repeated safety issues for IBK and its subsidiary.
In just the last five years, IBK and its subsidiary have been issued more than $100,000 in fines[i] from regulators for unsafe practices that endangered workers and the public. These fines have included:
OSHA issued IBK $12,934 after a November 2018 inspection at 260 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn found IBK failing to properly protect workers from the risk of falls.[ii]
In January 2016 at an IBK project at 100 Bogart Street in Brooklyn, a worker was injured and hospitalized[iii] after falling ten feet.[iv] An inspection following the incident led OSHA to issue IBK two serious violations carrying a total of $6,750 in fines for failing to have sufficient fall protection measures in place.[v]
In July of 2016 on a project in Manhattan, the New York City Department of Buildings fined IBK $10,000[vi] following an incident where a defective pipe burst on a concrete truck,[vii] spraying concrete onto a car across the street.[viii] The DOB inspector noted that while cleaning up the concrete, workers were “allowing it to wash down the street into sewer,” with no attempt to protect the sewer system.[ix]
In 2014 at 19 East 116th Street, the Department of Buildings issued IBK a $24,000 fine (later reduced to $5,469.90) for unsafely using a crane.[x] The inspector noted that the crane was engineered to be set up in the street, but had instead been set up on the sidewalk, posing a serious risk that “the sidewalk could collapse and cause the crane to overturn.”[xi] In August of 2017, the DOB issued IBK four separate violations carrying more than $16,000 in fines for again unsafely and improperly operating a crane.[xii]
Following inspections in February and April of 2016, OSHA issued 26 serious violations (later reduced to 18 serious violations) to RCS Construction, a rebar fabrication shop located in Hillside, NJ[xiii] owned by IBK.[xiv] The violations carried more than $53,000 in fines.[xv] OSHA noted in an accompanying press release that RCS employees were “at risk of amputations” because of RCS’s lack of safeguards, and exposure to dangerous chemicals and electrical hazards. RCS was also cited for dangerous crane operations.[xvi]
[i] The violations detailed in the subsequent bullets in the section on IBK add up to over $104,000 in fines.
[v] https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1117357.015 – for evidence this is regarding the same incident as the complaint, note that the date of the inspection and the date of the complaint are both 1/13/16.
[xii] Violation #1: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ECBQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=6&ecbin=35225368N
Violation #2: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ECBQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=6&ecbin=35225374J
Violation #3: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ECBQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=6&ecbin=35225367L
Violation #4: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ECBQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=6&ecbin=35225366J
[xiv] https://unionnewsdaily.com/news/hillside/25997 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20150607114350/http://www.ibkconstructiongroup.com/constructions/our-services.html - See the bullet that reads “•Manufacture and fabrication of rebar in a controlled factory environment through IBK owned RCS Construction Corp, LLC”
Principals arrested in May of 2018, charged with stealing $1.7 million from workers
In May of 2018, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office arrested several Parkside principals and announced indictments stating that the company had stolen more than $1.7 million from about 520 workers on eight buildings. According to the District Attorney, despite tracking workers’ hours through facial recognition technology, Parkside supervisors intentionally wrote in fewer total hours on printouts that went to their payroll company, leading to workers’ hours being shorted and overtime not being paid.[i]
The company also allegedly avoided nearly $7.8 million in insurance premiums by fraudulently hiding $40 million in payroll from the New York State Insurance Fund.[ii]
Worker crushed to death by 8,000 pound concrete slab – part of extensive record of OSHA violations.
In September 2014, Park Side employee Rodalfo Vasquez-Galian was killed when an 8,000-pound concrete slab fell on top of him while he was working on the foundation of a hotel development project at 326 West 37th St.[iii] Following an inspection into the incident, Parkside was cited for 2 OSHA violations and fined $14,000.[iv]
In the seven months prior to Vasquez-Galian’s death, OSHA had already found serious safety violations during two other inspections at Park Side worksites. A February 2014 inspection at a Brooklyn jobsite led the agency to levy three serious violations against Park Side for inadequately protecting workers from falls and the risk of impalement on protruding rebar.[v] And an inspection in May at the very 37th Street project, where Vasquez-Galian would
later die, found a lack of appropriate eye and face protection for workers.[vi]
Overall, between 2014 and 2017, Park Side was cited for 14 OSHA violations, carrying $69,121 in fines.[vii]
The aftermath of the 2014 Parkside accident at West 37th St. that killed Rodalfo Vasquez-Gilian. Photo: Richard Perry/The New York Times
See the story
[iii]"Concrete Slab Crushes Construction Worker in Midtown Manhattan," New York Times, September 23, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/nyregion/man-dies-in-construction-accident-in-midtown-manhattan.html
For evidence the slab was 8,000 pounds, see the OSHA inspection https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=996709.015
[v] Inspection Detail, Inspection No. 960310.015, OSHA IMIS, https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=960310.015. Note that the standards cited include 19260501 B02 I and 19260501 B04 I, which refer to "Duty to have fall protection"; and 19260701 B, which reads "All protruding reinforcing steel, onto and into which employees could fall, shall be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement."
[vi]Inspection Detail, Inspection No. 979577.015, OSHA IMIS, https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=979577.015. Note that the standard cited is 1926.102(a)(1), which reads, "The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation."
History of serious safety violations, including for 2015 job site death
Rovini has a history of serious safety violations, including those that led to the death of a worker on a Manhattan construction site in 2015. In August 2015, Angel Munoz was working for Rovini on a project at 577 9th Avenue when boards that were improperly covering an elevator shaft gave way, causing Munoz to fall four stories to his death.[i] OSHA cited Rovini for three violations in connection with the incident, and $19,000 in fines.[ii]
Just a few months prior to Munoz’s death, OSHA penalized Rovini for violations similar to the ones that caused Munoz to fall down an elevator shaft: Following an inspection in March 2015, OSHA cited Rovini for three violations, including a serious violation, for improperly labeling and covering holes at a job site on Manhattan’s West Side.[iii]
Wage theft suit settled for $28,000
Rovini was subsequently sued by workers who worked at the 577 9th Avenue project where Rovini employee Angel Munoz fell to his death. The workers alleged that they were forced to work 60 hours per week without overtime.[iv]
In 2017, the case settled after Rovini agreed to pay $28,000 to the workers.[v]
Principal pled guilty to federal racketeering charges
Additionally, Rovini principle Vincent Zollo[vi] pled guilty to federal racketeering charges in 1999 after it was revealed that Zollo was defrauding the New York Construction Authority and paying workers 60 percent less than the authority's required prevailing wage.[vii]
A news article in 2015 referred to Zollo as a “mobbed up contractor.”
 "Mob-Linked Contractor With History of Cheating Workers Sued for Overtime," DNA Info, October 26, 2015, https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151026/hells-kitchen-clinton/mob-linked-contractor-with-history-of-cheating-workers-sued-for-overtime
[i]"Construction worker dies at Friedman, Landis' 400 Times Sq.," The Real Deal, August 25, 2015, http://therealdeal.com/2015/08/25/construction-worker-dies-at-friedman-landis-400-times-sq/ ; "Construction Worker's Wife Told Him to Quit 'Stupid' Job Days Before Death," DNA Info, August 31, 2015, https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150831/astoria/construction-workers-wife-told-him-quit-stupid-job-days-before-death
[ii] Inspection Detail, Inspection No. 1087369.015, OSHA Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), https://osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1087369.015
[iii] Inspection Detail, Inspection No. 1045602.015, OSHA Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1045602.015
[iv] Complaint, Figueroa, et al. vs. Rovini Concrete, filed October 13, 2015; See also "Mob-Linked Contractor With History of Cheating Workers Sued for Overtime," DNA Info, October 26, 2015, https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151026/hells-kitchen-clinton/mob-linked-contractor-with-history-of-cheating-workers-sued-for-overtime
[v] See settlement agreement, Figueroa et al. v. Rovini https://drive.google.com/open?id=1t0n5fW3HOEo9b8OQ5PHMaN0M_YsV7gKF
[vi] Zollo is identified as Rovini workers’ “boss” in this article. https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151026/hells-kitchen-clinton/mob-linked-contractor-with-history-of-cheating-workers-sued-for-overtime/
[vii] “Carless Contractors, Crumbling Souls,” New York Times, July 26, 1999, http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/26/nyregion/careless-contractors-crumbling-schools.html?pagewanted=3 ; Final Order of Forfeiture, United States v. Vincent Zollo, filed January 1, 2013.
Falls Lead to Injuries and Death on RNC Sites, while RNC is Repeatedly Cited for Lacking Fall Protection
In November 2007, an RNC worker, unsecured by fall protection, fell 38 feet to his death when newly hardened concrete and plywood floor gave way. OSHA issued RNC 14 “serious” violations following an investigation of the incident, including a violation for failing to provide required fall protection.
This was not the first time a worker had been injured by a fall on an RNC jobsite. In 2006, while it was still dark out in the in the early hours of the morning, an RNC worker was directed to lay concrete on the third level of a Manhattan building. He ended up falling 16 feet down an elevator shaft, sustaining major injuries that required a 10-day hospitalization.
In addition to the 2007 incident, OSHA cited RNC for lacking fall protection for workers in 2010 and 2013. The 2013 citation followed an incident where a worker fell 15 feet when a support beam collapsed under him.
OSHA’s investigation of the 2013 accident found that the support system was not properly erected, support beams were damaged and had not been inspected for defects, and workers lacked fall protection and had not been trained to recognize and minimize fall hazards. OSHA cited the company for four serious violations and a repeat violation of fall protection standards. In a statement issued in connection with the violations, OSHA’s area director for Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens noted that “Falls are the number-one killer in construction work.”
Hundreds of thousands paid to settle wage theft suit:
In March of 2018, RNC agreed to pay 9 workers $210,000 to settle a suit alleging the company had systematically shorted workers 10-12 hours a week.
RNC’s principal tied to organized crime in 1996 bid-rigging conviction.
RNC principal Richard Tonyes was convicted in 1996 of inflating the price of construction contracts, in a case that involved organized crime. On March 11, 1996, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York filed a letter noting that Tonyes’s inflated contracts scheme was related to an extortion scheme carried out by Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi and John “Johnny G.” Gammarano, reputed members of the Genovese and Gambino crime families, respectively.
RNC’s principals convicted of felony tax evasion in 2014, serve jail time and pay restitution.
In 2012, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York filed charges alleging that RNC principals Richard Tonyes and Robert Dugan illegally evaded payroll taxes for their non-union company Extreme Concrete Corporation.
Shortly after these charges were filed, both Tonyes and Dugan pled guilty to felony tax evasion. Tonyes was sentenced in 2014 to a 13-month jail term, and Dugan ordered to pay $164,311.38 in restitution to federal and state authorities.
Millions of dollars in intentional fraud against union pension funds.
In suits filed in 2013 and 2014, a number of unions sued the principals of union contractor River Avenue Contracting for allegedly creating RNC as a fraudulent alter ego company to perform work using non-union workers that was covered by union contracts, and avoid making contributions to union benefit funds. River Avenue/RNC’s principals ultimately paid more than $6 million to settle the suits.
In an opinion issued in one of the suits, a judge found that RNC owner Richard Tonyes and his wife Sonia had intentionally defrauded the union funds and were therefore “individually liable” for any money owed. The opinion cited “smoking gun” evidence of fraud: Tonyes’ companies regularly submitted remittance reports signed by an “S. Smith,” even though nobody by that name ever worked at the companies. Wrote the judge: “Defendants’ use of a false name strongly indicates that they intended to defraud the Plaintiff Funds.”
Sold fake OSHA cards
One of the alter-ego lawsuits against RNC accused the company of selling unearned OSHA safety cards for $50 each to RNC workers who had not taken the required safety training to earn the card. This practice puts both the uncertified workers and the public at risk.
See legalized RNC fact sheet, Summer 2018.
SSC High Rise
2018: Manslaughter conviction following worker’s death
SSC was convicted of manslaughter following the death of Juan Chonillo at 161 Maiden Lane, after Chonillo fell 29 stories to his death on the luxury condo project. SSC paid $842,000 as restitution following the conviction, as well as a $10,000 fine, the maximum corporate fine under New York law.[i]
2018: Wage theft and payroll fraud findings
SSC was also found as part of the investigation into Chonillo’s death to owe its workers $517,000 in stolen wages, and ordered to pay $568,700 to the state Department of Labor.[ii]
In addition, SSC had committed millions of dollars of insurance fraud, hiding over $2 million in payroll in a scheme to obtain lower insurance premiums.[iii]
2012: tax fraud finding
In 2011, SSC principal Michael Mahoney was sued by the US Attorney for the Southern District for tax fraud by paying his employees illegally in cash off the books in order to limit his tax liabilities. Mahoney pled guilty in 2012, was placed on two years of probation and was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.[iv]
2011: forced to pay $1.6 million for race-based pay scale, wage theft.
SSC principal Mahoney was previously the principal of a number of other construction companies, including EMC Contracting. In 2009, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sued EMC and other Mahoney-controlled firms for $4 million in back wages for forcing his employees to work as many as 70 hours a week with no overtime and, most shockingly, for instituting a three-tiered wage rate in which Irish workers were paid $25 an hour, African-Americans about $18 and Latino employees $15. In 2011, Mahoney and his companies were ordered to pay more than $1.6 million, plus interest, in this matter.[v]
Sky Materials Corporartion
Manslaughter charge following Carlos Moncayo’s death
Sky Materials pled guilty to manslaughter and its foreman, Wilmer Cueva, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, following the death of Carlos Moncayo, who was
Carlos Moncayo was 22 when he was killed at a Sky Materials construction site that had been repeatedly cited for safety violations. Photo: Craines New York
See the Carlos' Law
buried alive on a Sky Materials work site after a trench he was working in collapsed on him. [i]
Manslaughter investigation finds Sky concealed millions in payroll and stole hundreds of thousands from workers:
The investigation into the jobsite death uncovered significant insurance fraud by Sky Materials. Investigators found that Sky had drastically underreported the number of workers on its payroll in order to lower its insurance premiums. The total amount of underreported payroll was $3,650,000 over the course of two years.[ii]
The investigation also resulted in Sky having to pay its workers $464,000 in unpaid back wages.[iii]
[iii] https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doi/press-releases/2017/dec/MDA_Wage%20Theft_12-04-2017.pdf See page 3.
Defrauded union funds out of millions
Trident was formed in 2018 after its predecessor company, ACS, entered bankruptcy proceedings. ACS entered bankruptcy after a Manhattan federal court judge found ACS to be an unlawful alter ego of the union contractor Navillus, created to avoid Navillus’s obligations to union benefit funds.[i]
In 2017, a Manhattan federal court judge ordered Navillus to pay $76 million to union funds to cover benefit fund contributions it had avoided through its alter-ego scheme.[ii] Navillus declared bankruptcy as a result of this judgment, causing ACS to go out of business and re-emerge under the name Trident.[iii]
The judge noted in her opinion that Trident founder Eoin Moriarty “was obviously lying” in his trial testimony.[iv]
Insurance and visa fraud admitted to over the course of the trial.
During the course of the above-mentioned alter ego trial, numerous additional frauds committed by ACS principals were exposed. Among these fraudulent acts were:
Visa fraud: ACS principals admitted to lying to US Citizenship and Immigration Services to illegally obtain H-1B and J-1 visas for immigrant workers.[v]
Insurance Fraud: ACS principals admitted to lying to an insurance company in order to secure bonding for a project by intentionally inflating the amount and value of work ACS had previously performed.[vi]
The judge in the case commented during summation: “I’d love to turn all of this over to the United States attorney… the amount of fraud in this case, the insurance fraud, the visa fraud, a lot of fraud has gone on here and I will call it fraud for fraud it is.” [vii]
Sued over alleged discrimination
Two African-American former Trident employees recently filed a lawsuit claiming they were subjected to a discriminatory environment where supervisors frequently used racial and homophobic slurs and threatened to fight them.[viii]
The workers say they were fired in retaliation when they complained about the harassment they endured from the company’s general foreman.[ix] One of the two men who was fired was first asked to unsafely grind concrete on a 7th story ledge, and then fired when he refused.[x]
The case is ongoing as of July 3, 2019.
[i] See Navillus Judgment, page 57 of PDF, paragraph 205: “ACS was set up as, and at all relevant times was, Navillus’ alter ego.”
[ii] See Navillus Judgment, pages 99-101 of PDF.
[iv] See Navillus Judgment, page 46, paragraph 175.
[v] See Navillus Judgment, pages 55-56, paragraphs 200 & 201.
[vi] See Navillus Trial Transcript 8-21-17, pages 106-107
[vii] See Navillus Trial Transcript 8-21-17, page 107
[viii] See Complaint, Michael Stewart et al. v. Trident General Contracting LLC et al., paragraphs 21-32, 46
[ix] See Complaint, Michael Stewart et al. v. Trident General Contracting LLC et al., pages 3-4 of PDF
[x] See Complaint, Michael Stewart et al. v. Trident General Contracting LLC et al., paragraphs 56-59