Contractors charged in $1 million fraud scheme

ALBANY – A contractor with a three-decade history of defrauding dozens of homeowners has been charged, along with his business partner and a housing consultant, for allegedly taking part in $1 million scheme against homeowners across the state.

The state Attorney General’s office said a joint investigation with the State Police resulted in a grand jury handing up a 17-count indictment against Robert Decker, 66, Scott Driscoll, 44 and Robert Langlais, 67, for their alleged roles in the fraud.

Attorney General Letitia James said many of the homeowners involved had invested their life savings in upgrading their homes.

“We won’t allow anyone to take advantage of and steal from innocent New Yorkers trying to build better lives for themselves,” she said in a statement.

The probe was prompted by dozens of complaints to the state Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau about SJR Enterprises, a Waterford-based home improvement contracting company run by Decker and Driscoll, dating back to at least May 2018.

A review of the SJR Enterprises’ Better Business Bureau page and other online reviews show the complaints go even further back, with customers repeatedly complaining about work not being done or not being up to code. Many of the complaints state that they never heard from anyone at SJR Enterprises after writing a large deposit check or being talked in to paying the full amount to get the project started.

According to the indictment, Decker, 66, also known as Bob Dale, and Driscoll, defrauded home and business owners by taking money for improvement projects and using it for themselves, including nearly $400,000 in cash. They also used roughly $150,000 to pay off their debts and ordered over $50,000 in items through iTunes, Amazon and at various restaurants.

The indictment lays out several cases where homeowners spent months

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City contractors to place 250-foot bridge downtown Monday | Colorado Springs News

City contractors will haul a 250-foot-long pedestrian bridge into place Monday over the railroad tracks between the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum and America the Beautiful Park.

The new $20 million bridge drew from the architectural themes of the recently opened museum and is expected to become a new iconic downtown structure, said Ryan Phipps, senior engineer with the city of Colorado Springs.

“It’s going to be source of civic pride,” he said.

The bridge is expected to be placed within an eight-hour window and rolled slowly onto its abutments by large self-propelled modular transporters, vehicles that provide a stable platform on numerous wheels, he said. The vehicles are expected to be the safest way to move the 300-ton steel and concrete structure, he said. 

“It will be very exciting to watch,” he said.

The bridge had to be built before it was placed over the railroad tracks because construction could not disrupt freight traffic for an extended period, he said. 

The structure is the latest step in the revitalization of southwest downtown, a vision that’s been decades in the making and is now coming to fruition with the improvements along Vermijo Avenue, the museum’s opening and the construction of the new downtown stadium southwest of Cimarron and Sahwatch streets.

The bridge was designed to match the Olympic museum and the architects drew inspiration from Olympic athletes themselves, designing it to be sleek, minimal and to invoke the idea of motion, said Holly Deichmann Chacon the bridge’s architect with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. 

The bridge’s beauty will also contribute to plans for a modern and urban downtown expected to see about $2 billion in infrastructure and commercial investment over the next 20 years, said Bob Cope, economic development manager. 

“We knew it couldn’t be a typical bridge. … We knew

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DOL’s Proposed Rule on Independent Contractors

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partners Harris Mufson and Allan Bloom discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed new rule on independent contractor classification.  In recent years, the misclassification of workers as independent contractors has been the subject of a number of private lawsuits and investigations by government agencies.  This is true for traditional industries and also companies within the gig economy, which rely heavily on independent contractors.  So be sure to tune in as we address how this proposed rule may impact employers’ classification of workers.

Harris Mufson:  Welcome to The Proskauer Brief: Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law.  I’m Harris Mufson and on today’s episode I’m joined by Allan Bloom and we’re going to discuss the Department of Labor’s proposed new rule on independent contractor’s classification.  So Allan, Employment Law really divides workers into two categories: one employees and the others independent contractors, and the Department of Labor has proposed a new rule regarding the classification of workers as independent contractors.  Can you describe that rule?

Allan Bloom:  Harris that’s right. Employees are generally covered by the federal wage and hour laws so that means minimum wage that means overtime pay but independent contractors are not covered so whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is a major issue under the wage and hour laws in addition to a number of other laws. Particularly in the last few years the misclassification of workers as independent contractors has been the subject of a number of private lawsuits a number of investigations by government labor agencies and tax agencies and this is not only in traditional industries but also in businesses within the gig economy or the on-demand economy that rely heavily on independently contracted workers.  So the legal rights of these types of

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NIDC inks 5 deals for lending drilling rigs to local contractors

TEHRAN – National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC), a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), signed deals to lend 16 drilling rigs to five domestic companies that are working on development projects of the country’s oilfields, Shana reported.

According to Reza Dehqan, the National Iranian Oil Company’s deputy director for development and engineering affairs, the mentioned deals were signed with Global Petrotech Kish Company, Petro Iran Development Company, Pasargad Energy Development Company, Qeshm Oil and Energy Industries, and Petrotenco Company.

The drilling rigs will be used in the development projects of Zilaei, Mansourabad, Siahmakan, Ahvaz 1, and 4, as well as Maroun 5 and 12 oil fields, Dehqan said.

Back in August, Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) and the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) signed 13 deals worth €1.527 billion with domestic companies to add 185,000 barrels per day to the country’s oil production capacity.

NISOC is the employer for 11 of the mentioned contracts, which will be implemented in the five provinces of Khuzestan, Fars, Kohgiluyeh-Boyer Ahmad, Bushehr, and Hormozgan, while the other two were signed by IOOC.

Accordingly, two contracts for the development of Zilaei as well as Chalingar and Garangan projects were signed with Global Petrotech Kish Company; Ramin project was awarded to Persia Oil and Gas Industry Development Company, while Mansourabad project was handed over to Petro Iran Development Company, the Siahmakan project to Pasargad Energy Development Company, Maroun 2, 5 and 6 projects to Petrotenco, Maroun 1 and 4 projects to North Drilling Company (Sina Energy Gostar Holding), Maroun 3 project to the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOECC).

Balaroud project was signed jointly with the National Iranian Drilling Company and Jahanpars Engineering and Construction Company, Ahvaz 1, and 4 projects jointly with Qeshm Oil and Energy Industries and Maroun Karan.


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As If Calling Its Wrestlers ‘Independent Contractors’ Wasn’t Enough, WWE Is Now Going to Hijack Their Twitch Accounts

Encouraging wrestlers to develop their own brand and then coming back to say, “Oh hey, sorry, you need to give us your Twitch account now,” just seems wrong. However, that’s exactly what WWE is doing to its wrestlers, who learned this week that the company would be taking over their Twitch accounts in four weeks, according to WrestlingINC.

a man standing in front of a crowd: Seth Rollins celebrates his victory over John Cena at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City.

© Photo: JP Yim (Getty Images)
Seth Rollins celebrates his victory over John Cena at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City.

The Twitch takeover is related to an edict issued by WWE CEO Vince McMahon at the beginning of September. Per WrestlingINC, the edict stated that talent could no longer “engage with outside third parties” and that wrestlers had 30 days to terminate third-party activities. In a letter to wrestlers at that time, McMahon said that some individuals that were engaged with third parties were “using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental” to the company.


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Wrestlers that did not do as instructed and engaged in “continued violations” would face fines, suspension and termination, McMahon said.

Although it was apparently not immediately clear that the edict would affect wrestlers’ Twitch and YouTube accounts, WWE later said that its talent could maintain accounts on these platforms under their real names, WrestlingINC reported. However, they would still need to inform WWE of these accounts.

This week, wrestlers learned what would happen to their Twitch accounts. In a few short weeks, these accounts will become the property of WWE, which will own them and give talent a percentage of the revenue. This percentage counts against their downside guarantees, or the money they’re guaranteed to make.

In interviews with PWInsider, several wrestlers, speaking anonymously, said that they would now have to

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