Shocking disclosures… Marriott supervisory firm disqualified in US
The US firm which was reportedly handed a $200M contract under unclear circumstances to supervise the construction of the Marriott-branded hotel in Kingston, has been disqualified from tendering for certain state contracts in New York, US.
According to US news reports, M.A. Angeliades, of Long Island, New York, pleaded guilty in June 2010 to shortchanging 300 workers it had employed on nearly a dozen substation construction jobs.
According to sources close to the Ministry of Finance in Guyana, the US firm is the same one retained by Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI), the government-owned company that is overseeing the hotel construction.
M.A. Angeliades has reportedly since hired Guyanese-born New York-based quantity surveyor, Romesh Budhram, to supervise the US$51M project.
Budhram has a local company, RBIL, listed as being registered at 111 Regent Road, Bourda. He is also listed as the Project Manager of Clearview Development Corporation, a US company.
Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington, said that contrary to reports, the supervisory contract was advertised in the local media.
According to a correspondence seen by Kaieteur News, AHI’s head, Winston Brassington last August wrote the firm, for the attention of Budhram, offering a US$1,068,000. (approx. G$213.6M) deal.
According to news reports on M.A. Angeliades, as a result of guilty pleas, the School Construction Authority (SCA) of New York, disqualified the firm from participating in any of its projects until July 2015.
SCA was established by the New York State Legislature in December 1988 to build new public schools and manage the design, construction and renovation of capital projects in New York City’s more than 1,200 public school buildings, half of which were constructed prior to 1949.
In June 2010, Bronx District Attorney, Robert T. Johnson, announced that the owner of M.A. Angeliades Inc, the Queens-based construction company and his daughter, a company Vice President, entered guilty pleas in connection with charges that workers employed at nearly a dozen subway station construction sites, were illegally underpaid between July 1, 2005 and September 10, 2008.
During that time, more than 300 workers were short-changed by approximately $600,000.
Merkourios Angeliades, President and Chief Executive Officer of M.A. Angeliades, pleaded guilty to one felony count of falsifying business records in the first degree.
Irena Angeliades, Vice President of M.A. Angeliades, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of Petit Larceny.
The defendants admitted that certain workers were paid less than the prevailing wage for overtime and work performed on weekends and holidays, as specified in the firm’s contracts with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
According to news reports, under terms of the agreement, both officials were to resign from their positions and the company will be monitored by an independent private sector Inspector General through September 10, 2013. It was also ordered that a US$3M escrow account to settle claims by workers who were underpaid be established.
The convictions were as a result of an investigation which was started by the Office of the Inspector General for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Barry Kluger. The MTA Inspector General had received numerous complaints that the firm was not paying employees the prevailing wage rate for overtime, holiday and weekend work.
The construction of the Marriott has been generating significant controversy since it started. The government is investing a significant sum for a project that is not clear.
Government recently, in startling statements, said that it was the intention all along to sell the hotel once it is completed.
The 197-room hotel will include a restaurant, casino and entertainment facilities.