Thruway Contractor Arrested For Violating State Labor Law

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the owner of a Maryland-based specialty painting company has been arrested for failing to pay employees on the job the required prevailing wage under a contract with the New York State Thruway Authority.

The Contractor, Jorge "George" Forakis, and his company, Paint City, Inc. of Baltimore, are charged with violating two counts of the State Labor Law: Failing to Pay the Prevailing Wage, and Failing to Pay the Promised Wage stemming from a $708,000 contract, which was awarded to the company as a result of its low-bid under a competitive process.

The contract required the company to paint five bridges that are maintained as part of the State's 641-mile Thruway system. It specified that the contractor compensate its employees working on the job at the prevailing wage of $38.78 per hour, plus benefits for work of up to 40 hours per week. Overtime was to be compensated at a rate of $53.65 per hour.

It is alleged that Paint City was paying its employees at a rate of less than $15 per hour. Most of its employees averaged 75 to 80 hours per week and did not receive an overtime differential.

The bridges, which are located in Rockland and Orange counties include the: Route 303; Sloatsburg; Broadway; Pleasant Hill Road; and Ramapo River bridges.

Forakis was arrested jointly by investigators with the Attorney General's Office and the New York State Police, and was arraigned in the Town of Clarkstown before Justice Victor Alfieri, Jr. He pleaded not guilty, posted bail and is scheduled to appear on September 20 in Town Court.

The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General's Labor Bureau and the Poughkeepsie regional office with the assistance of the New York State Department of Labor, Bureau of Public Works, and the New York State Police.

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