Two Charged with OSHA, ERISA Violations over Construction Jobs

December 14, 2004 ( - The US Attorney's Office in New York has announced the arrest of two men on charges that they violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, made false statements, and violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

>Kang Yeon Lee, a contractor and owner of Big Apple Development and Construction, was arrested Tuesday and charged with causing a worker’s death by a failure to comply with OSHA standards, according to a Department of Justice (DoJ) press release. Lee and a supervisor, Dai Ki Kim, were also charged with making false statements to the US Postal Service relating to worker compensation on a federally funded project at JFK Airport. Lee was also charged with making false statements and concealing information required to be disclosed regarding ERISA.

>The charges stem from the collapse of a balcony on a project Big Apple was conducting in May, which resulted in the death of one of Big Apple’s employees. The worker had not been provided with federally mandated protective equipment, according to the DoJ. This would not be Lee’s first OSHA citation, having been cited in 2001 for a similar infraction.

>This investigation lead to further reviews, in which it was discovered that in 2000 Big Apple had lied about employee compensation levels on a project at JFK airport. The charges state that both men made fraudulent payroll records that sad workers were being paid more than they actually were.

>The investigation also disclosed that in 1999, Big Apple entered into a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization, and Lee failed to make required payments of $1.1 million into the organization’s ERISA pension plan.