Omnibuild employees: Unfair indictment cost firm $1B

Workers beg DA to drop charges against contractor caught in Nir Meir scheme

Omnibuild Employees Say Firm Lost $1B From Unfair Indictment

From left: Alvin Bragg and Omnibuild’s Peter Serpico (Getty, Omnibuild)

Omnibuild’s employees are asking the Manhattan district attorney to drop charges against the construction firm, saying its indictment has led to $1 billion in losses.

The workers took the unusual move of sending a letter to D.A. Alvin Bragg warning that their jobs and employee stock ownership plan are at risk.

“The impact of the indictment on Omnibuild has been catastrophic,” the letter obtained by The Real Deal said.

Their message claims Omnibuild has already lost significant business — including a $225 million project, a $700 million project and a $70 million project — because of the indictment.

Omnibuild was charged in February for its role in a scheme allegedly masterminded by Nir Meir when he ran HFZ Capital. Bragg’s office alleges Meir orchestrated the misappropriation of $86 million, victimizing investors, subcontractors and New York City.

Bragg also charged HFZ, two other former HFZ executives, Omnibuild and three Omnibuild employees — including its then-leader, John Mingione — with grand larceny. All parties pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors did not charge Ziel Feldman, HFZ’s founder and chairman.

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Meir is accused of illegally diverting $60 million from HFZ projects to cover shortfalls on other HFZ projects, using bogus documents, and of shorting the city $15.6 million in taxes. Another $11 million was allegedly looted in various schemes.

Prosecutors allege Meir skimmed money lent to the HFZ’s trophy property, the XI, a twisting condo project since renamed One High Line, with help from Omnibuild.

But Omnibuild, one of the largest contractors in the city, insists it was a victim, not a perpetrator, of Meir’s schemes. The contractor filed its own lawsuit against HFZ, Feldman, Meir, the XI’s lender and others, alleging it repeatedly told HFZ and its lenders about missed payments, but HFZ instructed Omnibuild to keep working. Mingione resigned from the company a few weeks ago.

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In their letter, the employees claim the firm cooperated fully with Bragg’s investigation and provided documentation showing their innocence.

“The continuation of this prosecution not only threatens our jobs and retirement funds but also undermines the integrity of our legal system by failing to distinguish between the victims and the perpetrators of the fraud,” the letter stated.

The D.A.’s office declined to comment. HFZ and Meir’s lawyers also did not return a request for comment.