Contractor Admits Fraud, Fills New WV Contract with Out-of-State Workers
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Florida contractor confessed to defrauding workers on a Braxton County project, but still won a million-dollar state contract in Charleston. The contractor now could be in legal trouble again by not using West Virginia workers on the new job.
In August, Nomiki and Michael Valvlas pled guilty to fraud for violating federal wage-and-hour rules on a bridge contract with federal highway funds. Brian Stanley, director of marketing for Painters and Allied Trades District Council 53, said the company has changed its name from VHP Enterprises to International Rigging Group and got another state contract to spot-paint the Yeager Bridge.
"Cheating workers out of wages, misclassification and then lying on documents," he said, "and they just pled guilty to that. How can they come back to West Virginia and bid on another state project?"
Stanley claimed the contractor has brought all - or almost all - the workers for the Yeager Bridge project from out of state - even though the West Virginia Jobs Act requires that contracts paid for with public money use 75 percent in-state workers. Stanley said qualified West Virginians were turned away when they applied.
"I know of 14 local industrial painters who have bridge-painting experience - they're journeymen - that applied," he said. "None of 'em were contacted to be hired."
He said the company hasn't changed anything but its name, and International Rigging even uses the same Florida headquarters.
"That's the same address as VHP. Same principal officers, same location," he said, "The equipment they used under VHP is the same equipment they use under International Rigging."
Calls to the two companies rang to the same office, and both firms referred questions to the same attorney. That lawyer promised to call back and answer questions, but has not.
More information is online at media.wix.com.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Boston's 'Mass and Cass' area, with its large homeless population and open-air drug market, remains a trouble spot for city officials, but staff at …
Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …
Local candidates that signed onto a no-corporate-money pledge made midterm election gains in Charleston. Katie Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia …
Health and Wellness
A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…
A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…
The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …
This story is based on original reporting by Elizabeth McGowan for Energy News Network, and is part of the Solutions Journalism Network-Public News …
In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …