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NY update: ‘Carwash kingpin’ slapped with subpoena

March 27, 2012
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NEW YORK — John Lage, a so-called “carwash kingpin” in New York, received a subpoena from Attorney General Erick Schneiderman last week, according to the New York Daily News.

The March 26 story cited sources involved in the investigation that said Schneiderman is close to finding “serious” allegations of wage-and-hour violations by Lage’s washes.

Lage’s son, Michael Lage, and associate Fernando Magalhaes were also subpoenaed. Together, the trio is involved with at least 21 carwashes across New York City. Even so, the state is supposedly investigating only 10 of them.

In 2005, Lage was sued by the U.S. Department of Labor over conditions at six of his locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. In 2009, Lage agreed to pay some of the workers $3.4 million in back pay and damages.

Now Schneiderman is investigating allegations of wage, tip and overtime violations at Lage’s carwashes. Also, managers are accused of breaking the law by sending workers home with no pay during rainy days.

Another claim is that workers have to pay for damage to cars out of their own pockets, a source said in the article.

Lage’s carwashes have come under scrutiny again during the unionization push and protest campaign that groups have started in New York.