Prevailing Wages seemed to be the catchphrase that pays in 2016 and most of the time it was used as an accusation against Councilman André Wallace for not paying prevailing wages on his portion of the construction of the EOC Center. It got to a point where it didn’t matter if it was true or not since it was being said so often by so many it became believable. Even now that it ruled he did no wrong, some will continue to believe it. Black Westchester was even accused of being fake news and not reporting real news like Wallace not paying prevailing wages because we waited until the court’s ruling, and did not post what came from Joseph Spiezio and the Thomas Administration without proof.
The ruling which has been a long time coming vindicated the contractor turned Councilman. The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) completed its investigation into allegations made against Creative Construction and Design, LLC (Creative Construction) and owner and president, André Wallace, Thursday, April 27, 2017. The DOL ruled that neither Wallace nor his company violated Sections 220:8, 220-b.2 (Article 8) and 235.5 (Article 9); and have not, “…been found to be paying less than the prevailing rate of wages or supplements…”
“The DOL has ruled that neither my company nor I violated any section of the law showing payments less than prevailing rates,” said Wallace at the presser for the work on at a firehouse at 50 W. Third St., where the Emergency Operations Center is located.
Two days before Christmas, Friday, Dec 23, 2016 the Yonkers Tribune reported: The City of Mount Vernon today received notice from the New York State Department of Labor to withhold payment from Contractor/Councilman André Wallace for his failure to pay prevailing wages and underpayment of workers on the Emergency Operations Center.
“Contractor André Wallace’s decision to rob millions from Mount Vernon taxpayers, to deliberately underpay his workers, and to leave our Emergency Operations Center in ruins is despicable,” Mayor Richard Thomas said in the YT article. “This appears to be Wallace’s way of doing business as he was also found guilty in 2013 in New York City of the same crime.”
That’s just a brief example of the 15 months of media manipulation the public was forced to endure. One court case after another leading to one lawsuit after another, with an infestation of social media oversaturation in between. From the public’s vantage point little was being done by the way of governing. Despite residents desires for an end to the madness to only be bum-rushed by another email blast, another newsletter, another news story publicizing the ongoing Civil War in City Hall.
While the malicious melee of madness may be far from over in City Hall, the DOL has silenced some of the baseless accusations that had been thrown around for over a year. Comfort to a man who credibility and business took a major hit, during this combative conflict. While there were some who would eventually believe the accusation and back away business wise until the matter was concluded, Mr. Wallace is thankful to those who never stopped believing in him.
“During this rough ordeal, it was the support of those who believed and never stopped believing in me that helped me through this ordeal,” Mr. Wallace tells BW after the presser. “People everywhere I went telling me they got my back, to continue doing a great job and don’t let these attacks stop you from being you, do not give up, do not give in. It when you go through something like this, you find out who is truly with you and who is not. To all those who stood with me and those who continued to support me and those who never stopped believing in me, I say thank you.”
In November, state Supreme Court Justice Sam D. Walker rejected the city’s allegations because the city never sent Creative Direction any notices about defective work and he ruled that Mount Vernon must pay the company.
Councilman André Wallace held a presser on Monday to speak about being vindicated by the DOL’s ruling and much more (see video below).
Mayor Richard Thomas did not return our repeated requests for comment.
As always stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story and feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below.
AJ is a Father, Author, Writer, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
You can also hear AJ every Thursday morning at 7:20 A.M. on Good Morning Westchester with host Bob Marrone on WVOX