Firms Building City-Backed Affordable Housing Repeatedly Cited for Cheating Workers Out of Wages

Several contractors working on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to build more affordable housing have been cited for wage cheating and dangerous working conditions. These big players have paid out a total of $11.1 million in back wages in the last three years, according to recent records. However, these findings don’t stop them from working on new city projects.

Builder, MDG Design and subcontractor F. Rizos settled federal wage-cheating charges in Brooklyn in April 2013 by agreeing to pay $960,000 in back wages. Just one month later, MDG was cited with more wage-cheating charges on a different city project, this time accounting for $4.5 million in back wages.
Contractors allegedly tell workers not included on certified employee lists to hide when inspectors show up. Contractors then write checks at the usual wage rates and make workers kick back a percentage to keep their jobs.

“One contractor paid hardhats a flat $50 to $100 a day to work eight to 14 hours a day, six to seven days a week with no benefits. One wrote checks showing 40 hours of work for employees who put in 50 to 60 hours per week. Those charged with wage cheating in the last five years include some of the city’s biggest players in affordable housing. All told they’ve paid out a total of $11.1 million in back wages in the last three years, records show.”