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Attorney General Ellison applauds holding contractor accountable for wage theft

DLI today filed action against PMC and Advantage to recover $2.4 million in stolen wages and damages

December 19, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today applauded the action the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) filed today against Property Maintenance & Construction LLC and Property Maintenance and Construction Inc. (PMC) and Advantage Construction Inc. (Advantage), in which DLI alleges PMC and Advantage engaged in rampant wage theft. DLI’s action seeks to recover $1.2 million in back wages and another $1.2 million in damages.

During their 3-year investigation of PMC and Advantage, DLI discovered significant wage theft and other illegal actions on 19 different construction projects. Employees of PMC and Advantage were regularly not paid the wages they were due, not paid overtime, paid off the books, and more.

“It is hard for Minnesotans to afford their lives if wages are being stolen right out of their paychecks,” said Attorney General Ellison. “I applaud DLI for taking action to recover millions in wages and damages for workers who had their pay stolen from them. The scope of the wage theft that PMC and Advantage stand accused of is astonishing, and I look forward to the day they pay back every cent they owe their workers.”

Attorney General Ellison has long been involved in this case. In October 2022, he sued PMC and its owner, Leo Pimentel, for obstructing DLI’s wage theft investigation. In that lawsuit, Attorney General Ellison alleged that PMC threatened and lied to workers to dissuade them from cooperating with DLI, failed to keep appropriate employment records, and refused to provide DLI with the records it does have, despite being legally obligated to do so.

The Attorney General’s Office resolved that case in September 2023, with PMC agreeing to provide DLI the information needed for their investigation, as well as to call a meeting with workers and an AGO investigator to explain that workers can participate in DLI’s investigation without fear of retaliation. PMC also agreed not to inquire whether workers have communicated with DLI, discourage workers from communicating with DLI, instruct workers to provide false information to DLI, and more. The resolution of this lawsuit paved the way for the action DLI announced today.

Attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office are also representing DLI in its action against PMC and Advantage at the Office of Administrative Hearings.

 

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