Hearing in Scott County prevailing wage case delayed again

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A preliminary hearing for a Michigan construction company owner charged with violating Missouri's prevailing wage law continues to be delayed in Scott County, and for varying reasons, according to the defendant's attorney.

Norman J. Bass, the president of Municipal Construction Inc. of Goodrich, Mich., was charged in April with six counts of failure to pay workers the state's prevailing wage, a misdemeanor, and five counts of felony forgery for allegedly providing false documents concerning workers' pay and hours.

Bass' company was leading work on the Scott County Public Water Supply District No. 4 construction project, which was to lay the district's water pipes.

Statements in an affidavit filed in the case allege 17 workers were underpaid by more than $63,000.

The company's contract was terminated in June when Bass, 67, was first expected to appear for a preliminary hearing. It was continued until July, then September, October and then set again for Nov. 4.

"All the continuances, except for this last one, are because of the complexities of the case," said Jeffrey Dix, Bass' attorney. "We really needed more time."

Considering the number of documents in the case and the number of witnesses needed to testify, a preliminary hearing would take up most of a judge's afternoon, Dix said. The hearing has previously been scheduled when the judge has had a full docket.

It's also complicated to coordinate schedules with state officials and other authorities who investigated the case, Dix said.

The Nov. 4 hearing was rescheduled because the judge had a jury trial set for the same day. No new date has been set.

The former superintendent on the project, Thomas LaCosse of South Lake, Texas, was also charged in the case with six counts of felony failure to pay workers the state prevailing wage for work on the project. However, Casenet no longer reflects charges for LaCosse, and Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd did not return phone calls made to his office Wednesday to comment on the case.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

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