Mount Vernon, New York. – The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) completed its investigation into allegations made against Creative Construction and Design, LLC (Creative Construction) and owner and president, André Wallace, Thursday, April 27, 2017. The DOL has ruled that neither Wallace nor his company violated Sections 220:8, 220-b.2 (Article 8) and 235.5 (Article 9); and have not, “…been found to be paying less than the prevailing rate of wages or supplements…”
Mr. Wallace, who also serves as a member of the Mount Vernon City Council, has faced accusations for over a year, from Mayor Richard W. Thomas, members of the Thomas Administration, Joseph Spiezio and some of Wallace’s former workers claiming he and his company failed to pay prevailing wages to employees for work done at the Griffith and Valentine Firehouse (Third Street Firehouse, Station 3, located at 50 W. 3rd Street).
Mr. Wallace was awarded a bid in 2013 to construct an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the firehouse, a bid he won prior to his November 2015 election to the City Council.
In an e-mail to Mr. Wallace, M. Paul Redd, Jr., Senior Public Work Wage Investigator at the New York State Department of Labor writes, “Our investigation did not reveal Labor Law violations on the part of Creative Direction Construction & Design, LLC, or owner Andre Wallace. A notice to release withheld funds is being processed”. The city had been authorized to withhold $100,000 from Mr. Wallace until the DOL completed its investigation.
Mayor Thomas and the city’s Corporation Counsel, Lawrence Porcari, have refused to make final payment to Mr. Wallace citing inefficient work performed at the firehouse in addition to false claims of nonpayment of prevailing wages. Efforts were even made to cancel Wallace’s fully executed contract with the city. In August of 2016, Mr. Wallace was vindicated after New York State Supreme Court Justice, Sam Walker, ruled on summary judgment that the city was in breach of contract with Creative Construction. Judge Walker ordered the city to pay Creative Construction final payment in the amount of $234,065.09 plus interest at the statutory rate from August 29, 2014.
Additionally, the New York State Department of Homeland security the funding source for the city’s construction of the EOC- conducted an inspection of the EOC and found no deficiency in the work performed by Creative Construction.
“I’m prepared to discuss, in-depth, the carefully calculated scheme to destroy my business and to destroy my reputation as a councilman. Mayor Thomas, through Joseph Spiezio’s law firm-Smith, Buss, and Jacobs filed a baseless and meritless lawsuit against me.” Mr. Wallace is calling on Mayor Thomas to reimburse Mount Vernon taxpayers for the frivolous lawsuit.
Mr. Wallace will discuss the details of the DOL’s findings during a press conference to be held on the steps of Mount Vernon City Hall on Monday, May 1, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. In the case of inclement weather, the press conference will be held in the rotunda of Mount Vernon City Hall.
Could we be one step closer to ending the Civil War in City Hall, only time will tell. Stay tuned for more on this and related stories.