NOVATO -- State labor regulators today said a Novato plumber faces fines of $512,700 and a three-year ban from public works jobs over claimed lack of compliance with laws for such projects that require contractors to provide training opportunities for apprentice.
The state Department of Industrial Relations Division of Apprenticeship Standards levied $512,700 in civil penalties against Christopher J. Augusto, who operated Christopher J. Augusto Plumbing Company in Novato until the Contractors State License Board revoked his license last May. The agency also issued a debarment, which blocks him from being able to bid on public projects in the state directly or through involvement in management or ownership of a bidder through Nov. 10, 2013.
"Augusto Plumbing Company was well aware of the apprenticeship requirements and knew it was breaking the law," department Director John Duncan said in a statement. "In 2007, the company was disbarred but was allowed to continue work it had already begun on four public works projects under the stipulation that it would immediately follow all apprenticeship requirements. This company willfully violated those regulations again. Attempts to undermine these regulations ultimately hurt companies that are playing by the rules, and we will not allow that to happen."
The previous incident involved public works jobs in Danville, Napa and Berkeley in 2005--06. According to the state, Mr. Augusto claimed membership in apprentice training programs but was dropped over not paying for benefits and training. A November 2007 settlement brought a $35,400 fine and three-year debarment. Yet the company was allowed to complete four jobs in progress in Mill Valley, Santa Rosa and San Francisco.
During that three-year debarment, the company also worked on the Richmond Library in San Francisco and the Contra Costa College library in San Pablo.
The state investigation followed a complaint by the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters locals 38 in San Francisco and 159 in Martinez.