A building owned by controversial developer Peter Mocco is once again mired in legal issues.
A multi-agency team of investigators has assessed more than $1.3 million in back wages and penalties to 20 contractors performing construction work at 88 Regent Street, Mocco’s latest project in Liberty Harbor North.
In a four part series, The Jersey City Times examined repeated violations of zoning laws at two other Mocco projects, 333 Grand Street and 245 Newark Avenue. Mocco was also embroiled in controversy over a project at 303 1st Street.
The assessments against the contractors followed an unannounced sweep in summer 2021 by more than 60 investigators in response to allegations of workers being misclassified as independent contractors or paid off-the-books while working at the Jersey City construction site.
Allegations also included workers not being paid properly for overtime, and employers failing to pay appropriate taxes on purchased construction materials and not carrying workers’ compensation insurance.
The investigation started shortly after Governor Murphy signed a package of misclassification bills into law in July 2021.
New Jersey Departments of Labor and Workforce Development, Treasury, and Banking and Insurance, and the Office of the Attorney General joined in the investigation.
“After a hard day of work, everyone deserves to receive their full wages and benefits,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “We will not tolerate companies and contractors that cut corners to make an extra buck. The misclassification of workers is illegal and damages the quality of life for the affected employees and their families.”
According to authorities, Mocco affiliated Grand Street Construction, LLC of Jersey City, the owner and general contractor on the project, can be held responsible for the unlawful actions and back wages of its sub-contractors.
Asked to comment on the assessments, Mocco told JCT “I support the State of New Jersey’s effort to require and enforce that all wage earners are properly, legally, justly and equitably compensated. All companies and subcontractors should comply with the fair labor rules and regulations of the State and Federal Government. Liberty Harbor has and will continue to support the State and work with New Jersey to see that all subcontractors comply with the fair labor rules and standards.”