A local manufacturer of push brooms that was awarded tax breaks is operated by some of the same individuals who run a roofing company found by New York State to have underpaid its workers $277,000 in 2008-09, according to business records and an officer with both companies.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last month announced up to $200,000 in state tax credits would go to Super Sweep Inc. of Deer Park over 10 years if it completes an expansion in Huntington Station. The $4.5 million project involves purchasing a building and increasing the company’s workforce by nearly sixfold to 35 people.
Cuomo and other state officials were unaware of wage violations committed by FMS, a sister company in Huntington Town, when awarding the tax credits, officials said.
FMS paid workers less than the prevailing wage, which led the state to bar FMS from government building projects for five years, according to the state Bureau of Public Work’s debarment list.
Despite FMS’ wage violations, Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, said there is no reason to rescind tax credits for Super Sweep.
“A single finding of guilt — for violating a state law several years in the past for which a small business has paid a fine and made restitution — is not necessarily grounds to deny the company a future incentive that is performance-based and intended to benefit the local economy and community,” said Empire State Development spokesman Jason Conwall.
He also said the Super Sweep project was part of a plan to combat blight and boost economic activity in Huntington Station.
A Super Sweep executive said FMS repaired roofs, cornices and gutters on buildings on Governors Island in New York Harbor between April 2008 and February 2009.
A subsequent investigation of FMS by the state Department of Labor “found that employees had been underpaid and corresponding records had been falsified,” said department spokeswoman Tiffany Portzer.
She also said FMS had complied with an order to pay its 13 workers $276,910 in back wages, plus interest. The company also paid $41,537 in penalties and is barred from working on government contracts for five years, until Nov. 28, 2017.
Super Sweep president Michael Margolin, who also has served as an FMS executive, said “contract administration was challenging” for FMS in 2008-09, but “we took responsibility and made it right.”
He added, “Since the violation, we realized that we were not creating the type of company we wanted and started focusing on our core values” of integrity, appreciation, respect and responsibility.
Margolin said FMS is separate from Super Sweep, and the companies do not share employees. However, in a March interview, he said he, his wife, stepson, daughter and brother were involved in both businesses: “We all do all of it.”
Margolin also said, “Now that things are really starting to grow and move, we want to split the businesses so that one doesn’t affect the other.”
Business records compiled by the LexisNexis information service show Super Sweep and FMS have shared locations.
Margolin invented a sturdy push broom with an aluminum handle in the mid-1990s after a new, wooden-handled broom broke as he was cleaning up after a roofing job. The new broom gave birth to Super Sweep, which he hopes will have annual sales of $1 million by the end of next year.
The broom is available in more than 1,000 stores nationwide, including Ace Hardware and on Amazon.com.