Alma Realty hired contractor tied to pay scandal

SSC High Rise Construction tapped for two-building Queens residential project

34-46 Vernon Boulevard in Queens, and Alma's Steve Valiotis
34-46 Vernon Boulevard in Queens, and Alma's Steve Valiotis

Queens developer Alma Realty is facing criticism from union officials over the hiring of controversial contractor SSC High Rise Construction to handle foundation work at its two-building residential project at 34-46 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City.

Michael Mahoney, who co-manages SSC, and six companies he controlled were charged in 2011 by then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of withholding millions in employees’ overtime. He was also accused of adhering to a race-based pay structure in which black workers received $18 per hour, Latinos $15 per hour and Irish $25 per hour. A state Supreme Court judge ordered him to pay $1.6 million in back wages at the time. Mahoney was also sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to tax evasion in a lawsuit from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“This contractor may be working for Alma but will not be employed at the Astoria Cove site,” an Alma Realty spokesperson told the New York Daily News. “In light of allegations that have been brought to our attention, we are asking Alma to investigate these claims further and take the appropriate action.”

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Union officials said they are concerned about Alma Realty’s commitment to good jobs and union labor.

Mahoney told the newspaper he is an employee of SSC.

The City Planning Commission is set to vote on Alma’s much larger project, Astoria Cove, on Monday. [NYDN]Mark Maurer