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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. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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