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Building trades unions request suspension of indicted contractor.

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 5, 1995--The Massachusetts Building Trades Council (MBTC), AFL-CIO, has asked the Weld Administration to suspend Eastern Contractors Inc. from further construction contracts with state or municipal agencies.

Eastern Contractors Inc. was indicted on March 21 by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on 33 counts of violating public construction and labor laws. In a March 30 letter to Charles Baker, Secretary of Administration and Finance, MBTC President Joseph Dart cited state debarment laws which permit immediate suspension of a contractor under criminal indictment.

"The provision of the debarment law that allows for the suspension of indicted contractors would seem to be a perfect fit for this situation," Dart said, adding "Governor Weld has an opportunity to demonstrate his administration's commitment to ending public corruption if he suspends Eastern until the court decides a verdict. If Eastern continues to bid on such projects while under indictment, the integrity of the entire bid process will be suspect."

Under state law, Chapter 29, Section 29F (d), contractors who are indicted for violating state criminal statutes, including the statutes in question in the Eastern case, may be debarred on an emergency basis. Such action would temporarily prevent the company from being awarded contracts by state or municipal agencies. The indictments against Eastern, obtained at the request of the Attorney General's Fair Labor Business Practices Division, were based on allegations that prevailing wage, workers compensation, unemployment insurance and tax violations were committed by the company. According to the charges, as much as $1 million in workers compensation and unemployment tax violations, stemming from the use of bogus "Independent contractors," were committed.

"Immediate suspension, which is carefully outlined in the law, would be signal to contractors who meet all their legal obligations on state funded projects that the Weld Administration is committed to protecting the responsible contractors in the highly competitive construction industry," explained Dart.

"These are allegations of serious public corruption. The integrity of the process - and the interest of the taxpayers - are at stake. Suspension of this contractor will protect both while a criminal trial proceeds," Dart added.

The Massachusetts Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO, represents over 60,000 union trades men and women in the Massachusetts construction industry.

CONTACT: Massachusetts Building Trades Council

Joseph A. Dart, 617/436-3551
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Date:Apr 5, 1995
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