Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cement union funds sue over 'alter ego' companies |

Several funds operated by concrete labor unions allege in two new lawsuits that construction companies have been creating “alter egos” to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in union benefits.

In one suit, several funds claim that Navillus Tile and sibling owners Donald, Kevin and Helen O’Sullivan hid their interest in two other companies in an effort to get out of labor agreements the firm had previously signed. The O’Sullivans, the suit alleges, “fraudulently schemed” to use Times Square Construction and Advanced Construction Solutions to avoid paying more than $35 million that would have gone to pay for workers pensions, training, education and vacations.

The suit was filed Oct. 17 by funds and members of the Metal Lathers Local 46, Cement Workers, Cement Masons Local 780 and the Carpenters. The unions, which say they all had bargaining agreements with Navillus that mandated fund contributions, are members of the Concrete Industry Coalition.

Most of the 48-page complaint is spent establishing that Times Square and Advanced Construction are directly tied to Navillus and should therefor be subject to the bargaining agreements. It notes all three companies had sent letters to the city Department of Buildings using the exact same language, that that the companies had used trucks that belonged to Navillus and that all shared some of the same key employees.

Despite those connections, the companies performed work projects covered by union contracts in New York, including on the City Point project, on a Bronx project funded by the city’s Housing Preservation Development agency and several others, the complaint says. It also alleged that Advanced Construction “engaged in harassment and intimidation of its employees to prevent them from having any contact with labor unions.”

The suit was filed by attorney Susan Jennik, who earlier this year settled a similar case for the Metal Lathers Local 46 and the Carpenters benefit funds for more than $6 million. That case involved River Avenue Contracting Corp. and RNC Industries, which the suit alleged was an alter ego.

Jennik filed another suit against those companies in late October for funds belongings to Cement Masons Local 780. The complaint seeks more than $2 million in damages.

Jennik said these cases are pretty cut and dry.

“It doesn’t mean in every situation where there’s a non-union entity there is an alter ego,” she said. “Basically, what you have to show is that they—the two companies—are being run by the same people in control and they’re being treated and managed and operated as one entity. So you look at, are employees working for both companies? Are they sharing equipment? Are they transferring money?”

Willis Jay Goldsmith, an attorney for Navillus and the related companies, did not respond to a message seeking comment on Tuesday. A message left at the office of River Avenue contracting was also not returned.

Source: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/users/ryan-hutchins

14 comments:

  1. The suit was filed by attorney Susan Jennik, who earlier this year settled a similar case for the Metal Lathers Local 46 and the Carpenters benefit funds for more than $6 million. That case involved River Avenue Contracting Corp. and RNC Industries, which the suit alleged was an alter ego.



    Searching nycbcc web site archives I do not find this settlement being announced?

    Someone help me out here. Did the NYCDCC notify its members about it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. i thought that if a company doesnt pay the benefits and the workers complain,isnt the union supposed to SHUT THE COMPANY DOWN UNTIL THEY PAY ? i believe its called the shutdown list!!!!

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I would ask that if you would like to leave a comment that you think of Local 157 Blogspot as your online meeting hall and that you wouldn’t say anything on this site that you wouldn’t, say at a union meeting. Constructive criticism is welcome, as we all benefit from such advice. Obnoxious comments are not welcome.