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Nassau County contractor violated living wage law, audit shows

George Maragos is seen on June 12, 2017.

George Maragos is seen on June 12, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos said the county should consider canceling a contract with its concessions vendor after a four-year audit found violations of the county’s Living Wage Law.

The audit report, released Wednesday, says Dover Gourmet Corp. of Plainview “obstructed” the audit by failing to turn over payroll documents.

“The lack of cooperation with an audit heightens suspicion of impropriety,” Maragos, a Democrat, said in a statement. “At this point, the appropriate next step would be to refer the findings to the county attorney.”

Dover has a licensing agreement for vending and concession services at county parks and at Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach. The company has a separate agreement to provide vending and concession services at county office buildings.

In 2014, Nassau granted Dover a waiver exempting it from the Living Wage Law, which sets a minimum wage for employees working for the county and its contactors. The hourly living wage is $13.98 for employees receiving health benefits, or $16.07 for workers who do not receive those benefits.

The audit said Dover used inaccurate wage information on its waiver application and that the waiver, along with a 2015 renewal, should be rescinded.

The report said Dover failed to identify employees who worked on its Nassau contracts and refused to provide payroll and time and leave records. The absence of those records also prevented auditors from determining if employees working at county sites had undergone mandatory fingerprinting, the report said.

In an interview, Dover president Butch Yamali said the audit was “politically motivated.”

Yamali said he uses a single payroll register for his entire company and that he could not isolate employees only working on county properties.

“This whole thing is silly,” he said. “I gave them everything they asked for. I have a bunch of high school kids working in parks concessions.”

Yamali said all employees are run through the state’s sex offender registry, but those working on county-owned property will be fingerprinted.

County Attorney Carnell Foskey called the audit “fact-intensive and contentious” and said his office will review the findings to determine “whether any legal action is merited.”

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