Westport, Middleboro Police Station Contractor Fined for Unfair Wages
This article has been updated as of 3:50 p.m. Dec. 22 to include comments from BPI Construction General Manager Dan Ganley.
A Framingham contractor hired to build the Westport and Middleboro police stations will shell out more than $540,000 in penalties and restitution after the state Attorney General said it failed to pay the project workers proper wages.
Superior Carpentry, Inc. was hit with five citations from the Attorney General's office after a 2018 investigation by the office revealed it was underpaying workers on both police station projects by more than $35 per hour.
The A.G.'s office also alleges that the company and its overseer, BPI Construction Management, Inc., falsified payroll records, although BPI denies any wrongdoing.
Superior Carpentry President Fernando Barroso and V.P. Felipe Drumond were issued five citations for not paying workers lawful wages, not submitting payroll records or accurate payroll records, not keeping precise records and submitting false records, according to the A.G.'s office.
A separate complaint was filed in Suffolk Superior Court against BPI Construction Management for allegedly facilitating the submission of fraudulent payroll records to the two towns, claims that BPI General Manager Dan Ganley vehemently denied.
"We did everything by the book," Ganley said. "I think it's a very deep injustice that they're coming after us."
The office's Fair Labor Division started investigating the issue after a referral from the North American States Regional Council of Carpenters alleged that workers on the Westport project were not being paid prevailing wages.
The AG alleges in the complaint against BPI that the companies submitted 32 fraudulent payroll records to Middleboro and Westport.
“These companies cheated workers out of the wages they earned while working on public construction projects and then repeatedly lied about it to the municipalities involved," said Attorney General Maura Healey.
"Contractors and construction companies at every level, in every trade, are responsible for performing their work in accordance with the law. It is a priority of our office to ensure that workers are paid the wages owed to them."
But Ganley said that BPI was "very careful about doing everything correctly," and hired several lawyers to ensure compliance with the law.
"We just passed the contract onto the subcontractor," he said.
A representative from Superior Carpentry declined to comment.
— Aliana Liz Tavares and Kate Robinson