Harlem contractor settles after accusations of bilking workers

Construction firm underpaid crews despite developer's tax breaks, according to AG

Feb.February 10, 2017 09:30 AM

A construction company that allegedly shortchanged workers at a Harlem affordable housing project paid $189,000 to settle charges brought by federal prosecutors.

A. Aleem Construction and the developer of the project, W. 131st St. Development Corp., led by principal Alan Levine, reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor, over allegations that they underpaid workers, the New York Daily News reported.

The deal came to light just as state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was set to announce his own settlement with the developer and construction company.

Prevailing wages are required on jobs that get taxpayer subsidies. The Harlem project benefitted from a low-interest $13 million loan and J-51 tax breaks.

Workers at 241 West 135th Street were supposed to be paid $40 an hour plus $30 in benefits. But subcontractor SJ Insulation apparently paid $12 to $14 per hour, prosecutors alleged.

Aleem and the developer submitted papers to the city certifying workers received prevailing wages. In court papers, they denied wrongdoing and said they settled to avoid “protracted litigation.”

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Housing said the agency did not know about Aleem’s settlement with federal authorities until Wednesday. “With this settlement, they will definitely be reviewed again,” she said. [NYDN]E.B. Solomont

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