Lawyers for Capital Building Services Group have fired back at a lawsuit that alleges it shortchanged wages of janitors, asking a federal judge to deny class action status and an injunction barring certain pay practices.
They deny they are shorting Minnesota workers who clean Macy's and Herberger's stores or failing to provide payroll information required by law. Rather, the lawyers argue, the eight plaintiffs who complain they were not paid what they are owed have failed to properly "clock-in" or "clock-out," or did not request the detailed payroll information to which they are entitled from the third-party payroll company that Capital Building uses.
Capital Building of suburban Chicago "has detailed payroll and timekeeping records, which show that plaintiffs received their work hours themselves by clocking-in and out using telephones," the attorneys said in a memorandum in opposition to the workers' motions. "CBSG provides electronic earnings statements to its employees, as well as written earnings statements if requested by the employee."
Abraham Quevedo Orantes begs to differ. He was one of the suing janitors since 2011 who also was promoted to manager for a time by Capital.
In an interview last week, Quevedo, of Minneapolis, said he was forced to work seven days a week and never received anything approaching the $36,000 per year he was promised as an area manager, which involved overseeing cleaners at 20 stores around the Twin Cities area and filling in for absent cleaners.
Quevedo and his lawyer, Adam Hansen, of employment firm Nichols Kaster, say he wasn't allowed to get involved with payroll and essentially was forced to work unpaid overtime. He returned to a cleaner role in September 2014, after less than a year.
Capital Building cleans more than 300 facilities in 25 states.
The lawsuit against Capital Building basically outlines a race-to-the-bottom scenario in which Macy's and Herberger's contract with a third-party for a fixed sum, and then wash their hands of the labor implications. And Capital Building has all the incentives to illegally pay the workers, mostly immigrants, as little as possible,
"We expect business to comply with bedrock rules that have been around for 75 years," Hansen said. "The employees need to be made whole … wages, overtime, pay stubs. We need to clean this up and everything we are asking is in existing Minnesota law."
In 2013, Twin Cities janitors who contracted to clean various Target stores received an estimated $750,000 in back overtime pay and damages as part of a class-action settlement reached with another national contractor, Diversified Maintenance Systems.
A hearing on the motions is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in St. Paul later this month.
Opportunity Partners receives replacement windows
Armando Camacho, CEO of Opportunity Partners, was grateful this month to receive an $89,000 replacement-window upgrade of the nonprofit's Jorgensen House residential facility in south Minneapolis for people with developmental disabilities. A dozen installers from Renewal by Andersen worked all day at the 90-year-old house to complete the job.
The 42-window overhaul was the largest, single-day replacement-window job ever by Renewal by Andersen, the replacement-window business of Andersen Corp.
"Our installers were there to see the residents return that afternoon and they were enthusiastic and thankful for the new windows," said Renewal general manager Tim Pepera. "Our installers were really moved by that." And the residents and nonprofit will enjoy the increased comfort and decreased energy tab.
Andersen Corp, apart from affiliated foundations, donates up to 5 percent of pretax profits in cash, product and labor to community causes.
Petters creditors will get $3M from hotel sale
The recent sale of the W Minneapolis Hotel – The Foshay will net about $3 million to the court-supervised estate of Tom Petters. Petters, whose $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme is the largest financial fraud in state history, was an early investor in The Foshay. His $2 million investment will be worth about $3 million when the sale to a Dallas real estate investment trust closes in the fall.
The Petters take will be overseen by estate receiver Doug Kelley, who nearly cashed in on the investment several years ago at what would have been a loss.
"I'm glad we were able to wait until the market for hotels got better," Kelley said.
The proceeds eventually will end up in the hands of the Justice Department, which is administering a compensation plan for victims of Petters' fraud.
A real estate investment trust in Dallas is buying the W Minneapolis Hotel-The Foshay and the 60-room Le Meridien Chambers, two upscale downtown hotels for $101 million from Ralph Burnet and other investors.
E & Y names 2015 business honorees
The Minnesota 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is CEO Jon Carlson of Braun Intertec. He will be a candidate for the national E & Y award this fall.
The finalists included CEO Archie Black of SPS Commerce, Minneapolis; CEO Jeff Gau of Marco Inc., St Cloud; founder Josh Hochschuler and CEO Steve Gill of Talenti Gelato, Minneapolis; President Cindy Koebele of TitleSmart, Maplewood; and CEO Bill Szlaius of Logic Information Systems, Bloomington.
The award program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
Energy productivity conference comes to 3M
The Alliance to Save Energy, a business-government coalition, the Council on Competitiveness and the U.S. Department of Energy will be at 3M on Thursday, for discussions about Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030, the campaign to double U.S. energy productivity. The Maplewood event will focus on the economic benefits of getting more from less energy and water, manufacturing strategies and leveraging energy-saving technologies throughout organizations.
The public is free to attend and registration is required at: ase.org.