Nursery Owner Charged With Failing to Pay Minimum Wage on Mehlville Project
The nursery owner, who is one of the workers paid less than minimum wage, said he was caught in cash crunch when he wasn't paid for another project.
A nursery owner and his business have been charged with 38 counts of failing to comply with the federal minimum wage law while completing a landscaping project for the Mehlville Fire Protection District in February and March 2012.
The prosecuting attorney's charges indicate that Farinella Nursery Landscaping in Wildwood failed to pay four workers at least $7.25 per hour for completing landscaping on the new Mehlville Fire Protection District Firehouse No. 3.
One of the four workers not paid the federal minimum wage was the nursery owner himself, Ramondo Farinella.
Farinella said the problem started when he was caught without cash to pay workers because he wasn't paid as a subcontractor on another project that involves a lawsuit.
Farinella told Patch.com he was surprised by the charges against him because he thought the matter had been resolved. He said he worked out a payment schedule with the Missouri Department of Labor and union officials to pay back about $54,000.
“I’m on a payment schedule and I’m keeping those payments up,” Farinella said. “I want to keep my good name and good standing so I can continue to bid on projects and still be considered.”
Officials with the Missouri Department of Labor and the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office declined to comment other than acknowledge the charges have been brought against Farinella as owner of the nursery and the business itself.
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