"Federal agents also found undocumented workers at the lab construction site at KSC,

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    This story goes on and on about the workers comp insurance...but tucked inside is the part about the

    "Federal agents also found undocumented workers at the lab construction site at KSC, Witcher said. The site is on State Road 3 beyond the first badge checkpoint."

    This means that Illeagle ailians were ON THE CAPE...since you all dont live here....let me explain....once you get past the gates/guards..the cape has 2 sides NASA...is space shuttle and the Airforce side...were rockets are launched. In any case KSC is basicly a big swamp and wild life refuge...once you get on to the property you can go almost anywere....(Some buildings require ID to get in some dont) you can go from the NASA side to Airforce side without getting checked...there are thousands of acres of woods to hide in and hundreds of abondon buidings ... you could hide an army on the cape once you got on with no problems...finaly the cape is on "high" alert due to the pending launch of an isrealy astranut..when the shuttle gets fixed....so If illeagle illains without ID can get on/off and to and from work during "High" alert.........I wounder what else has passed through the gates?

    Jul 19, 10:37 PM

    KSC lab subcontractor ordered off job for lacking workers' insurance

    By Kelly Young

    CAPE CANAVERAL -- A company helping to build a crown jewel of the state's space-related economic development effort was ordered off the construction site last month for not having Florida workers' compensation insurance.

    Alabama-based Millennium Metal Works was working on the Space Experiment Research and Processing Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center without the proper workers' coverage, officials said.

    In addition, the Florida Space Authority, the state arm overseeing the lab's construction, said Immigration and Naturalization Service escorted undocumented workers from the construction site this month.

    On June 26, the Division of Workers' Compensation issued a stop work order to Millennium after receiving an anonymous tip that the company's paperwork was not in order, said Sha-ron McWhite, acting supervisor of the Orlando office.

    Officials from the division said it appeared the company was paying Alabama rates for the mandatory insurance. The case is under investigation, and state regulators said there was no indication the company has gotten Florida insurance since the stop-work order.

    Margo Witcher of the Florida Space Authority said her agency is conducting its own inquiry, but work on the project is under way with proper insurance.

    Many local companies bid for the steel work at the lab, said Frank Pawela, business agent with the Ironworkers Union Local 808 in Orlando.

    Alabama insurance rates are about one-third the rates for Florida steelworkers. That edge may have allowed the out-of-state company to underbid its competitors, Pawela said.

    "This is typical of the unfair competition that our local Brevard companies face," he said.

    The state is spending $30 million for the 100,000-square-foot laboratory as part of a partnership with NASA. After its opening in fall 2003, the lab will be a place for researchers to prepare their experiments for shuttle or space station missions. It also will serve as an anchor for what officials hope will be a large industrial park.

    Millennium Metal Works owner Chuck Farris did not return phone calls Friday to his Alabama office.

    Millennium Metal Works also had a job at the Jacksonville International Airport. The stop-work order at the space center meant the company could not continue its work in Jacksonville.

    After a stop-work order is issued, there is a 30-day investigative period. The case then is handed over to a criminal office.

    Workers' compensation fraud is fairly common in Florida, costing millions of dollars annually, said Vance Akins, who investigates such cases from a West Palm Beach office.

    "This is white-collar crime at its best," Akins said.

    Some out-of-state companies come to Florida to work but don't tell their insurance carrier they are doing work in the Sunshine State, Akins said.

    "Workers' comp in Florida is a lot more complicated than . . . people realize," Akins said. "Our fraud comes from employers that do not even have workers' comp, and they are able to underbid other contractors who do have that burden."

    Federal agents also found undocumented workers at the lab construction site at KSC, Witcher said. The site is on State Road 3 beyond the first badge checkpoint.

    The general contractor at the site, Bovis Lend Lease, found out July 9 some of the workers did not have badges and escorted them off the property, according to the Florida Space Authority.

    "INS came to the site on July 10, 2002, reviewed the subcontractors' paperwork on the unbadged workers and concurred that the documentation was not proper," she said.

    However, neither the Immigration and Naturalization Service nor the U.S. Border Patrol claimed knowledge of the incident.

    The contractors "are now required to perform daily badge checks at the entrance to the job site, and we will be performing unannounced badge checks at the job site," Witcher said.