New York, New York – February 05, 2022: State Attorney General Letitia James Speaks During the Flushing Chinese Business Association Flushing Chinese Lunar New Year Parade. (Shutterstock)
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber today announced their joint efforts to combat wage theft by securing nearly $900,000 for more than 200 workers who were underpaid by Lintech Electric (Lintech). An investigation found that over the course of three years, Lintech disregarded the prevailing wage rate and underpaid its employees by almost $900,000 on multiple New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) projects in all five boroughs. As a part of the agreement, Lintech will repay the impacted workers the money they were cheated plus interest and will be banned from public works projects in New York for five years.
“Every worker deserves fair pay for their hard work,” said Attorney General James. “The prevailing wage was established for a reason — to protect the hardworking New Yorkers who built our city and keep it functioning. No employee should fear that they will be cheated at the hands of greedy employers, especially at the expense of the public good. I am proud to finally return the money owed to these dedicated workers and I will do everything in my power to ensure that Lintech does not deceive or exploit any more workers.”
“Lintech, a subcontractor for general contractors hired by NYCHA through its guarantors, agreed to pay almost $900,000 to workers that it underpaid for over three years, in violation of New York’s Prevailing Wage Law,” said DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber. “I applaud the workers who alerted DOI of this underpayment, prompting an audit that exposed this wrongful conduct. As a result of this joint investigation by DOI and Attorney General James’ office, Lintech will also be banned from New York public works projects for five years. DOI and its law enforcement partners will pursue and hold accountable employers that seek to cheat workers of their rightful wages, and we will ensure that those victims are made whole. I thank the state attorney general and NYCHA for their partnership on this important investigation.”
Attorney General James and the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) began a joint investigation into Lintech in September of 2019 after a DOI investigation and audit revealed that Lintech underpaid its employees. Between 2015 to 2018, Lintech failed to pay workers the prevailing wage rate and supplemental benefit rate on multiple NYCHA Housing Complex public work projects. The workers were hired to install and maintain lighting and electrical outlets on scaffolding surrounding multiple NYCHA apartment buildings throughout the city but were not adequately compensated.
Lintech’s actions violate the Prevailing Wage Law, which requires contractors and subcontractors to pay the prevailing rate of wage and benefits to all employees under a public work contract. Lintech’s financial guarantors, Neelam Construction Corporation, Pro-Metal Construction, and Zoria Housing, will also be held financially accountable for underpaying workers as guarantors of Lintech’s underpayments. The companies will repay close to $900,000 in wages, supplemental benefits, interest, and penalties to be distributed to 200 impacted employees. Today’s agreement also bars Lintech from performing, contracting, or subcontracting public work in New York state for five years, including a $30,000 penalty to cover the cost of the investigation.
The Office of the Attorney General thanks NYCHA for its partnership in this matter.
“We are pleased to work with the attorney general and the New York City Department of Investigation to root out malfeasance at NYCHA and to ensure that workers are justly compensated for their services,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “Wage theft and service crimes impact our operations, workforce, and residents, and will not be tolerated.”
The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for NYCHA, specifically Investigative Auditor Lester Dier, under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General Osa Omoigui, Counsel to the Inspector General Laureen Hintz, Inspector General Ralph Iannuzzi, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella, and First Deputy Commissioner Daniel G. Cort.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer S. Michael, under the supervision of Labor Bureau Criminal Section Chief Richard Balletta and Labor Bureau Chief Karen Cacace. The Labor Bureau is a part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and is overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.