Centre County contractor to pay over $20 million in restitution

Local News

(WTAJ) — Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., a contractor based in Centre County, will pay over $20 million in restitution in resolution to a wage-theft case.

Hawbaker Inc. appeared in Centre County court Tuesday and was accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars from its employees, along with violating federal and state prevailing wage laws. They pleaded no contest to four counts of theft for illegal wage schemes.

Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Philip McCarthy leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the hearing for the Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 in Bellefonte, Pa. The attorney general’s office says Hawbaker stole more than $20 million from workers’ fringe benefits such as retirement and health insurance. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP)

Charges were announced by Attorney General Josh Shapiro in April after a three-year investigation. Multiple employees reported concerns about their retirement payments.

“The proof was when I looked at my retirement statements that we got and the contributions didn’t add up to what they should’ve added up to,” said Harry Ward, a semi-retired bridge worker for Hawbaker.

“Because you noticed that something didn’t add up, and you calmly, but diligently did something about it, you’ve won back the retirements and payments and so much more for so many people across this commonwealth,” said Shapiro.

The restitution is $20,696,453 and must be paid within 120 days. In addition, Hawbaker Inc. will pay $240,000 to the Attorney General’s office within 100 days.

“The men and women doing the backbreaking work on Pennsylvania roadways, had their retirement stolen from them, by the c-suite executives, who were sitting in their cozy offices, on those hot summer days,” said Shapiro.

A hotline has been set up for Hawbaker employees who have questions about receiving their payment: 814-746-3518.

Centre County President Judge Pamela Ruest said she did not impose a fine and is happy with the restitution amount.

Hawbaker Inc. will have 30 days to appeal.

Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. provided the following statement:

Hawbaker is pleased to bring this process to a conclusion and focus on the future. Our company’s decision to plead no contest avoids protracted litigation, which could have jeopardized the livelihoods of our dedicated employees. We continue to believe that we followed all requirements regarding fringe benefits. The fringe benefit practices challenged by the Office of Attorney General were based upon advice provided by the company’s former attorneys. Hawbaker has always intended to properly pay all of its employees. Through the years, both state and federal regulators extensively reviewed our Prevailing Wage Act and Davis Bacon Act practices on jobs and did not find any wrongdoing. This led us to believe we were properly following all laws, and we did not plead guilty. We fully cooperated in this process and proactively addressed concerns raised by the attorney general’s office. As stated by the attorney general, we are making past and present employees whole.This process will be conducted under the direction of an independent monitor. We now look forward to continuing to deliver outstanding service to our customers and providing opportunities for our dedicated team members.

Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.

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