Rhode Island Landscape Executive to Plead Guilty for Denying Workers Union Benefits

The executive vice president of Central Landscaping Construction has a number of charges against him, including making employees work part-time without pay.

As originally reported on the Providence Journal, a landscaping and nursery company executive has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of cheating workers out of union benefits and falsifying unemployment documents, according to U.S. Atty. Peter F. Neronha.

Steven F. Pagliarini, executive vice president and treasurer of Central Landscaping Construction in Johnston, RI, and executive vice president of Central Nurseries in Chepachet and Johnston, RI, is reportedly scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Pagliarini agreed to plead guilty to allegedly avoiding paying contractually obliged union benefits for employees of Central Landscaping who were in two unions, "by paying a portion of the employees' wages through Central Nursery, a non-union company."

He has also agreed to plead guilty to allegedly providing false information to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) in regards to the employment status of some of his Central Nursery employees. According to court documents Pagliarini has agreed to pay restitution of $171,685.23.

Nehrona's office stated that between January 2007 and December 2010, Pagliarini "submitted false documents to union welfare and pension plan administrators" of two unions that represent construction equipment operators and other Central Landscaping employees. Those documents allegedly misrepresented the actual number of hours worked by some employees and the actual amount of wages they were paid.

Court documents also allege that Pagliarini falsely reported to the RIDLT that Central Nurseries employees had been laid off because of lack of work. While instead, he required the employees to work part-time but did not pay them. RIDLT paid those employees $68,487 in unemployment compensation.