MA contractor fined $150K for campaign-donation violation
A Boston-area construction firm and its owner have paid a $150,000 fine after a Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance investigation found that it asked employees and their family members to make campaign contribution and then reimbursed them in full, according to the Associated Press.
The OCPF said that between 2006 and 2016, J. Derenzo Companies paid individuals $37,000 in petty cash in an effort to hide the fact that the company was giving the money directly to several state and local politicans, an act prohibited at local, state and federal levels.
The company said it was unaware reimbursing employees was a violation of campaign finance law and, according to MassLive, has agreed not to make any additional campaign contributions from its petty cash account. In addition to the $125,0000 that the company paid into the state general fund, J. Derenzo owner David Howe also made a $25,000 donation to charity. The candidates who received the money agreed to donate it to charity.
Such transgression on the part of construction companies is not the norm — at least not a well-publicized one. Examples of more common violations include short-changing employees on wages and benefits or trying to get around minority hiring requirements.
Earlier this month, Chicago subcontractor Elizabeth Perino was sentenced to one year in prison for allowing her construction firm to be used to fulfill minority subcontractor mandates without performing any work. Prosecutors alleged she was given $40 million in contracts and submitted false invoices to make it appear as if she was actively involved in the projects.
And last year, a Long Island, NY, construction company and its owner were charged with 136 counts of fraud for allegedly swindling employees out of union benefits in excess of $250,000. Prosecutors claimed the company did this by purposely filing incorrect certified payroll forms — reflecting that it paid the correct prevailing wage — with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for work on the John F. Kennedy International Airport.
- US News and World Report Company, Owner Pay $150,000 for Hiding Campaign Donations
- MassLive.com Brockton construction company fined for repaying employees for political donations
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter