Company run by Fields' treasurer intentionally underpaid employees

A construction company run by the treasurer of C. Virginia Fields' mayoral campaign is barred from bidding on government contracts after intentionally underpaying six employees by $286,000, Newsday has learned.

Harlem businessman Milton Wilson, owner of W. Property Resources, failed to pay prevailing wages and benefits to five laborers and a mason for work done on police station houses, schools and a homeless shelter several years ago, according to a 2001 investigation by the city comptroller's office.

Two of the workers were shorted $76,200 and $72,300, respectively, over an unspecified period, according to the document.

In a payment agreement signed on Aug. 16, 2001, Wilson admitted to "multiple willful violations" of state labor law, which resulted in an automatic five-year ban from soliciting city or state contracts. The ban expires in August 2006, according to the state labor department.

Wilson's company also was ordered to pay a $28,600 fine to then-city Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

Fields has positioned herself as an ally of labor and the working poor. The Fields' campaign is already reeling from revelations that it electronically inserted images of Asians into a campaign flyer.

Last week, Fields' former consultant, Joe Mercurio, accused Wilson and campaign manager Chung Seto of pushing him to release the flyer.

Fields, who is the only mayoral candidate not to pay most of her staff's health insurance, has struggled to keep up with the brisk fund-raising pace set by her three Democratic primary opponents.

Several calls Thursday to Wilson's business and home were not returned.

A Fields' spokeswoman, Kirsten Powers, said the borough president has known Wilson for more than 20 years and considers him a friend.

"He had a business dispute involving wages," she added. "He reached a settlement with the city and he paid the fine."

The violations stem from regulations intended to protect workers for government-paid vendors. In order to bid for city contracts, businesses must first agree to pay workers a prevailing wage that varies by job and city agency. It's not clear how much Wilson's company was supposed to pay its workers or over what time period the underpayments occurred.

The underpaid employees performed renovation work on station houses in Manhattan's 10th and 26th precincts; PS 42 in Manhattan; PS 62, I.S 227 and Thomas Edison High School in Queens; PS 279 in the Bronx; and the Greenpoint Shelter in Brooklyn.

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