Updated 03/23/2013 01:05 PM
City audit: JW Marriott workers owed back pay
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A city of Austin audit has found more than $6,000 dollars owed to workers at the site of the new J.W. Marriott Hotel.
During negotiations in 2011, White Lodging, the developer behind the new hotel, agreed to pay prevailing wage to workers in exchange for $3.8 million in city fee waivers. Prevailing wage is a scaled minimum wage for skilled labor.
Questions were raised in Austin when an assistant city manager began to look into the contract between White Lodging and the city.
Last month, several workers delivered sworn statements saying they were underpaid for the work they were doing. Their subcontractor, Dallas-based CapForm, has now been ordered to make up the difference in wages.
Officials close to the investigation said the subcontractor was likely not told the J.W. Marriott project requires prevailing wage.
The audit shows some workers were underpaid by more than three dollars an hour.
Council Member Mike Martinez said he’s doubtful all workers will receive prevailing wage throughout the project.
"It is contemplated that they won't be (in compliance with the agreement) moving forward because they more than likely will not pay prevailing wage on some classifications,” Martinez said. "If they don't, then the fee waivers go away."
White Lodging has not given YNN a statement regarding the latest findings in the city's audit, but last month a spokesperson said they are committed to their agreement with the city.
"Not only are we adhering to the agreement, we are exceeding the prevailing wage targets average by at least 15 percent,” the spokesperson said in a statement. "We are confident the city will honor our agreement reached in August 2011."
YNN left messages with CapForm, but no representatives were available for comment.