The owner of a now-defunct Lemon Grove landscaping company was ordered Monday to pay roughly $44,000 to workers who were not paid the “prevailing wage” on a federally funded project.
Ramon Aguilar, 30, of El Cajon, who owned Hacienda Landscape, was placed on three years’ probation by U.S. District Judge William Enright and told to pay the workers, mostly Latinos, over the next two years.
“Your Honor, I’d just like to mention that at the time (1983) there was a depression in the construction industry and I was just trying to provide work to other minority people I knew,” Aguilar told Enright.
“I know it was tremendously wrong. I’ve lost my business, my ability to do any other type of work and my credit. Now I’m struggling to keep food on the table for my family.”
Aguilar’s attorney, J. Michael Reed, said the restitution can be paid when Caltrans pays the balance on a work contract owed to Hacienda. He also said that he and a representative of the U.S. Department of Labor were scheduled to meet Tuesday with Caltrans officials and attorneys to work out the details.
Instead of setting an exact restitution amount, Enright agreed to allow the Labor Department to make that determination after meeting with Reed and Caltrans.
Reed estimated that 50 workers are owed money for work done on the Interstate 15 project, between Mira Mesa Boulevard and Poway Road during 1983.