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BenchNOTES Newsletter

Last Month's OATH Decisions - August 2013


Sandy-related claim.

A contractor sought to recoup $81,365 from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for the repair and/or replacement of work performed in the construction of a promenade entry plaza and parking lot in Midland Beach on Staten Island, which was 75% completed when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  William A. Gross Construction Assoc. Inc. v. Dep’t of Parks & Recreation (in PDF), OATH Index No. 1894/13, mem. dec. (Aug. 7, 2013).


Taxi driver did not show drug test result was false-positive.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) alleged that a taxicab driver was unfit to retain his taxicab driver’s license because he tested positive for cocaine use. The driver testified that he had never taken cocaine and that doing so would be incompatible with his health. He is an HIV/AIDS patient and suffers from high blood pressure and renal failure, undergoing dialysis regularly. Further, he takes 14 different prescription medications daily, including steroids for asthma that he testified would be dangerous to his heart if taken in conjunction with cocaine.  Taxi & Limousine Comm’n v. Anonymous (in PDF), OATH Index No. 2389/13 (Aug. 28, 2013).

Prevailing Wage

Contractor engaged in kick-back scheme, violated prevailing wage law.

The Comptroller’s Office (petitioner) charged a contractor and its sole owner (respondents) with engaging in a kickback scheme and failing to pay prevailing wages and benefits to eleven employees who worked on two public works contracts. Petitioner showed that the employees were required to sign payroll checks reflecting a higher rate of pay and then had to return the money to the owner who paid them less than the prevailing wage. Office of the Comptroller v. Colortech Inc. (in PDF), OATH Index No. 1777/13 (Aug. 22, 2013).

Vehicle Retention

Police Department did not show valid basis for motorcycle stop.

The Police Department sought to retain respondent’s motorcycle seized in connection with his arrest for reckless driving and other offenses. ALJ Kevin F. Casey found that the arresting officer’s assertions in the arrest and complaint reports, that respondent drove in a “reckless manner” and was “observed in possession” of a large quantity of illegal drugs, were insufficient to show reasonable suspicion for the stop of respondent’s vehicle or probable cause for his arrest, and he ordered the Police Department to release the motorcycle.  Police Dep’t v. Zharkov (in PDF), OATH Index No. 242/14, mem. dec. (Aug. 12, 2013).