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Workers owed $105K in back pay on Las Vegas Strip bollards project

A Las Vegas construction company that installed bollards on the Strip owes more than $105,000 in wages to workers it underpaid and cannot hold a public works contract for three years, a state agency ruled.

Muller Construction must also pay $56,000 in administrative penalties after losing its appeal to the April decision by the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner, agency spokeswoman Teri Williams confirmed Friday.

The office’s ruling Wednesday followed an administrative hearing in October, where Muller Construction objected to the agency’s findings that it failed to pay prevailing wage to 28 workers.

Those workers fabricated bollards in the company’s work yard, which should have been deemed a public works site subject to prevailing wage, the agency said.

Muller Construction was awarded a $5 million county contract in June 2017 to install on the Strip hundreds of bollards, the four-foot steel posts rooted into sidewalks to protect pedestrians from vehicles.

Robert Kern, an attorney representing the company, said he believed evidence presented to the agency established the yard was used for multiple public and private projects, meaning it did not fit the definition of a public works site.

“I can’t quite grasp the logic of it,” he said about the decision.

Kern said he planned to appeal the decision to state court and seek to delay the ruling’s enforcement.

One worker was ordered to be paid more than $19,000, according to Tommy White, a laborers union leader and chairman of the Nevada Foundation for Fair Contracting. It’s the nonprofit labor management watchdog whose complaint to the agency sparked the investigation.

“It looks like it will be a nice Christmas for all those workers,” White said, adding they deserved the money to which they are entitled.

The company was originally ordered by the Office of the Labor Commissioner to pay more than $92,000 in back wages and $130,000 in penalties. But the decision was modified Wednesday, Williams said.

Muller Construction has accused Laborers Local 872, the union where White is business manager and secretary-treasurer, of defamation over the matter. The lawsuit filed in January 2018 in Clark County District Court remains unresolved, court records show.

The company had completed 10 other county public works projects since 2015 without a prevailing wage violation, according to the county.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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