Carpenters Union Statement Guilty Plea by Saddle Brook Construction Payroll Manager
EAS Carpenters Union Applauds New Jersey AG Grewal on Guily Plea Construction Company Payroll Manager Who Cheated Workers
(Edison) – The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters released a statement regarding the announcement made by Attorney General Gerbal Grewal that UniMak LLC payroll Manager Toni Jovanoski has plead guilty to two charges related to actions that stole wages from workers. The company, UniMak, LLC, of Saddle Brook, N.J., announced earlier this year that thet entered a non-prosecution agreement with the Attorney General’s Office under which it has agreed to pay $1 million to seven employees who were cheated out of earned wages.
“Wage theft is an all-too-common crime in the construction industry and bad actors like this must continue to be held accountable on behalf of the victims they target,” said William Sproule, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. “Workers deserve a fair pay for their work and we applaud Attorney General Grewal and his team on this successful investigation and providing justice to the workers victimized by UniMak.”
Jovanoski, 44, of Montvale, N.J., pleaded guilty today before Superior Court Judge James X. Sattely in Bergen County to third-degree false contract payment claims for a government contract (prevailing wage violations) and third-degree misconduct by a corporate official. The state will recommend that Jovanoski be sentenced to a five-year term of probation. Under the plea agreement, Jovanoski must pay the New Jersey Department of the Treasury $23,913 in back taxes related to these offenses. He also is jointly and severally liable with UniMak for payment of full restitution of $1,082,041 to the seven victims. Sentencing is scheduled for June 4.
For more than five years, from January 2013 through February 2018, UniMak engaged in public works projects subject to the provisions of the Prevailing Wage Act. During that period, Jovanoski, as payroll manager, failed to pay seven employees the mandated prevailing wages for hours they worked on such projects by requiring cash kickbacks from the employees. Specifically, the employees received paychecks for work they completed that included a note indicating how much each of them was required to kick back to Jovanoski in cash. They were required to pay Jovanoski the amount on the note, or they would not receive subsequent paychecks.
The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters represents over 41,000 of the most skilled carpenters who live and work in Delaware, The District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and West Virginia. EAS Carpenters are trained in many different trades, including: commercial/residential carpentry; heavy highway; piledriving; floor-layering; mill cabinet work; and tradeshow construction.