Saturday, 2:15 PM
Peabody company settles exploitation charges
(Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff/file)
A crew from Olympic Painting and Roofing Co. worked at former governor Mitt Romney's home in Belmont on Oct 2, 2007.
By Maria Sacchetti and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
The owner of a Peabody company that painted former governor Mitt Romney's Belmont mansion when he was running for president agreed today to pay about $59,000 in penalties and restitution for exploiting 69 of its workers.
Olympic Painting and Roofing Co. also pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of failure to obtain a workers' compensation insurance policy in 2005. As part of the plea deal in Peabody District Court, the company is barred from performing any government work for three years and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine.
The settlement with the state Attorney General's office came after a 2005 article in the Globe outlined allegations that Olympic failed to pay overtime and other obligations through a system that misclassified workers as subcontractors instead of regular employees. Romney hired the company to paint his salmon-colored house two years after the story ran on the front page of the paper. Romney took a hard stance against illegal immigrants during his presidential campaign and had already been criticized for hiring a landscaping company for his home that used undocumented workers.
Owner George Vasiliades, 44, and his company also agreed to pay over $48,700 in restitution to 69 affected employees and $10,300 in penalties.
"We're glad that it's over and we can put it behind us now," Vasiliades said today, adding that he was pleased the case was closed. "It was a fair resolution."
A complaint sparked an investigation by the Attorney Generalís office in October 2005. An audit of payroll records found that Olympic had failed to pay 69 employees a total of $48,500 in overtime for work performed throughout 2006. Investigators also discovered that in April 2006 the company also failed to pay one employee nearly $300 in wages.
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