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
One of North Carolina's oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities is finding new ways to help students stay enrolled and graduate. Recent …
A new survey finds 8 in 10 Kentucky parents say afterschool programs could help their child combat social and mental-health struggles by reducing unpr…
A technology that once existed only in science fiction soon could emerge as a viable solution to climate change. The city of Flagstaff has added …
A new report found Texas likely undercounted the number of people who actually live in the state when gathering information for the 2020 census…
Minnesota has more than 10,000 brownfield sites, which are abandoned or idled properties in need of contamination removal. State officials will soon …
By age 35, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher are about twice as likely as workers with just a high school diploma to have a good job - one …
The mayor of Huntington, where more than 200 homes were recently damaged by severe flooding, said now is the state's "one chance" to prevent other …
Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in North Dakota, prompting state officials to launch an online dashboard, where the public …