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2 contractors accused of wage violations accept plea deals

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The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has reached plea agreements in two cases in which a contractor was accused of paying workers less than the required wage on publicly financed projects.

Art Rafati, who owns Artistic Construction Inc., allegedly underpaid four employees on a curb and sidewalk project in Center Township. Rafati, 64, pleaded guilty to one count of theft, a class D felony, and four counts of Common Construction Wage violation, a class B misdemeanor.

In a separate case, drywall contractor David Roark pleaded guilty to a theft charge for underpaying for work on the Barton Towers remodeling project in downtown Indianapolis.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has pursued three cases alleging Common Construction Wage violations since 2011. The Common Construction Wage is a rate of pay specified by local committees for any state or locally funded projects over $350,000. Rates are set for three classes of worker: skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled.

“The significance of this is not only individual employees not getting paid what they’re owed, but the contractors and subcontractors who play by the rules can’t effectively bid against those who go into it knowing they’re going to cheat,” said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

A contractor can afford to under-bid for a project knowing they are going to make that money back by not paying their employees the Common Construction Wage, Curry said.

In 2011, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office obtained the state's first conviction in a common-wage case, against White River Mechanical, a subcontractor for two Indianapolis Public Schools projects.

Prosecutors in 2013 brought charges against Roark, who has agreed to pay the workers $24,311 in restitution. His company, D. Roark Drywall LLC, landed a $417,607 contract on the project. He allegedly paid some employees as little as $12 per hour, when his contract required he pay a minimum common wage plus fringe benefits of $39.91 per hour.

The prosecutor’s office alleges Rafati failed to pay four employees the Common Construction Wage on a city project for curbs, sidewalks and ramp replacement and repair in Center Township.

Rafati is scheduled for an initial hearing this week. As a part of his plea agreement, he has agreed to pay $9,175 in restitution to the victims.

Each town or county is responsible for setting the Common Construction Wage at a publicly held committee hearing. As of July 1, 2011, the wage scales adopted by the local committees cover all construction projects within three months of the scale's adoption.
 

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  1. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... http://www.theindianalawyer.com/supreme-court-reprimands-attorney-for-falsifying-hours-worked/PARAMS/article/43757 Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

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