Attorney General James and Comptroller Lander Secure Nearly $230,000 for Building Employees Cheated Out of Fair Pay

Attorney General James and Comptroller Lander Secure Nearly $230,000 for Building Employees Cheated Out of Fair Pay

Editorial credit: lev radin /

Managers of Manhattan condominium building and staffing agency underpaid building security guards for years in violation of New York law
New York, NY – New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander today announced a settlement totaling almost $230,000 with a contracting agency and the Board of Managers of a New York City condominium building for failing to pay workers in the building the prevailing wage required by New York law. From 2016 to 2019, Allied Universal Security Services (Allied Universal) underpaid the security guards it was contracted to provide at 540 West 28th Street Condominium (the Condominium) in Chelsea, depriving some workers of almost $30,000 each in fair pay. As a result of a joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Office of the New York City Comptroller, Allied Universal will pay nearly $230,000 in restitution to OAG, which will be distributed entirely to the seven affected employees.

“Every New Yorker deserves to be compensated fairly and fully for their hard work,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “For years, Allied Universal swindled their workers out of their hard-earned wages while the owners of the building where they worked benefited from a lucrative tax break. Now, these workers will finally be paid what they are owed. I want to thank Comptroller Lander for his partnership in this investigation, and we will continue to hold employers accountable for wage theft to ensure all New Yorkers are paid fairly.”

“We take our responsibility to enforce prevailing wage laws seriously, to protect workers from companies that try to cheat them out of the wages they have earned,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Today’s settlement proves that companies cannot escape accountability for exploiting their workers. I’m proud that our Bureau of Labor Law worked in partnership with Attorney General James’ team on this case to ensure the security guards at Allied Universal get the pay they deserved.”

In 2011, the Condominium received a Section 421-a tax break that required its owners to pay building service employees prevailing wages as established by the New York City Comptroller’s office. At the same time, the Condominium’s Board of Managers contracted with Allied Universal, a private security and staffing company, to provide security services for the building.

An investigation conducted by OAG and the Comptroller’s Office found that from September 2016 to February 2019, Allied Universal failed to pay the security guards working in the Condominium the wages owed to them under the prevailing wage rules. Seven employees were cheated out of thousands of dollars of supplemental benefit payments each, with some missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in fair pay.

For their violations of New York law, Allied Universal will pay the full amount its employees are owed plus interest, totaling $229,718.48. OAG will distribute the entirety of these funds as restitution to the former Allied Universal employees who were classified as Unarmed Security Guards from September 2016 to February 2019.

In addition, Allied Universal must conduct an audit of its contracts at all other New York City buildings and certify to OAG each year that all of its employees are being paid the prevailing wage at properties benefiting from a 421-a tax break.

New Yorkers who believe they have been a victim of wage theft or other labor law violations are encouraged to contact OAG by filing a confidential complaint online or calling (212) 416-8700.

The matter was handled for OAG by Assistant Attorney General Lawrence Reina under the supervision of Labor Bureau Civil Enforcement Section Chief Fiona Kaye. The Labor Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Karen Cacace and Deputy Bureau Chief Young Lee. The Labor Bureau is a part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

The Comptroller’s Office’s investigation was conducted by Jose Quiroz, Deputy Director of Investigations, supervised by Frank Gonzalez, Director of Investigations in the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law. The audit of underpayments was performed by Ilona Stadnicka, Auditor, supervised by Stuart Rimmer, Director of Audit. The Bureau of Labor Law is overseen by Claudia Henriquez, Director of Workers’ Rights.

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