WHO IS CIM GROUP?

CIM Group is a private equity real estate fund manager with a series of closed and open-ended real estate and infrastructure funds.

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT INVEST IN CIM

CIM has hired BAD Construction Management Companies who have violated standards that protect New York’s construction workforce.

  • Safety Violations

  • Payroll Violations

  • Wage Violations

  • Health Violations

CIM’S RESPONSIBLE CONTRACTOR POLICY

CIM has adopted an internal Responsible Contractor Policy (“RCP” or “Policy”) modeled after the policy of one of its investors, calPERS.

CIM’s Responsible Contractor Policy applies to construction, maintenance, and service contracts over $100,000. The RCP provides that CIM “shall comply” with the Policy for all funds and investments in which calPERS is an investor, and that it will use “good faith efforts” to comply with it for investments.

IS IT ALL JUST WINDOW DRESSING?

Despite adoption of a Responsible Contractor Policy, CIM’s activities in the New York City market paint a different picture.

CIM’s contracting practices establish that it needs to take steps to comply with the spirit, if not the letter, of its current RCP, and/or that it needs to adopt a more robust and expansive responsible contractor policy. The following are examples where the entities that work on CIM’s projects have fallen short of the social goals that every responsible contractor policy should promote.

LAWSUIT AGAINST SUBCONTRACTOR

Subcontractor East Coast Drilling, hired at 85 Jay Street, is facing an ongoing discrimination lawsuit.

The lawsuit is Thomas v. ECD NY Inc. et al (1:17-cv-06139-FB-VMS) brought by a woman who worked as a fire guard for the company, who alleges she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts and fired when she confronted management about the disparity.

The former employee also alleged that supervisors at ECD asked her “if she could refer ‘pretty, sexy girls’ to hire as fire guards.”

DEATH FROM COUNTERWEIGHT

Greg Echevarria, a 34-year-old veteran and father, was CRUSHED TO DEATH on April 13, 2019, when a 7.5-ton counterweight fell on him. A second worker was struck by rigging gear and injured. At the time of the accident Echevarria was working as a crane rigger and setting up equipment owned by Cranes Express, Inc.

DEATH BY STEEL BEAM

In November 2016, a crane wire snapped dropping a 6,200-pound steel beam, crushing a Cranes Express operator in the cabin of his vehicle and causing a CRV Precast employee positioned on the suspended beam to fall approximately four
stories to his DEATH.

OSHA and DOB investigations are ongoing as of June 4, 2019. Some of the outstanding charges against the site general contractor and subcontractors include failure to confirm subcontractor rigging crew was competent and qualified,
operation of crane in an unsafe manner, inability to provide proof of certification for the rigging crew, and unlawfully hoisting steel beam using an unrated, unmarked single choker.

WAGE THEFT ALLEGATIONS

A Cranes Express employee who worked for the company between May 2014 to February 2017 described working 90 to 100-hour work weeks without being paid the appropriate overtime or prevailing wage rate of pay. The worker filed a complaint under the Fair Labor Standards Act against Cranes Express. The case was settled in January 2019 with Cranes Express agreeing to pay $70,000.

DEATH FROM 40 STORIES

CIM’s construction manager on 85 Jay street is New Line Structures.

A DEATH occurred recently on a New Line Structures project when Bruno Travalja, owner of an architecture firm on the project, fell more than 40 stories after losing his footing while working at the former Flatotel Hotel at 135 W. 52nd Street.

DEATH BY FORKLIFT

CIM hired NY Developers and Management for CIM’s 109 Montgomery Street project.

In March, 2018, a construction worker was KILLED on another NY Developers and Management construction site.

The worker DIED after he was pinned by a forklift.

According to a news article, the worker had predicted he was “not going to survive” due to the dangers of the job.

L+M DEVELOPMENT

CIM partnered with L+M Development Partners on 265 Cherry Street in the Two Bridges area.

Alton Louis, an employee of subcontractor CRV Precast, DIED working on the roof of L+M Development’s 149 Kent project. He had a reported body temperature of 109°.

L+M also works with contractors who have a history of unscrupulous business practices, such as wage theft, fraud, and/or unsafe working conditions. MC&O, for example, have worked on multiple L+M projects.

In 2013, the Business Integrity Commission denied MC&O’s exemption/registration application to operate as a trade waste business, finding the company lacked “good character, honesty, and integrity,” citing the fact that MC&O’s principal pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including failing to pay prevailing wages and fraud.

According to a 2014 news article, “MC&O has been hit with $266,000 in federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines for dangerous work-site conditions in 14 incidents since 2004, starting with a worker who fell 64 feet to his DEATH at a job in the Bronx.”

SAFETY ISSUES

Cranes Express has a history of unsafely operating and maintaining equipment and jobsites as evidenced through violations issued by New York City agencies. This pattern of behavior includes:

  • A violation was issued against Cranes Express for failure to maintain construction equipment. Per the notice of violation, “In the process of telescoping out, the left side of the super lift had a hydraulic hose [begin] leaking at a heavy rate”, and it was not fixed for several hours. Hydraulic fluid is a toxic substance.

  • A violation was issued to Cranes Express at 810 Fulton Street when an operator lifted
    66,000 pounds outside the maximum radius of the crane. The DOB investigator observed that the “crane was grossly overloaded.”

  • At 213 West 34 Street Cranes Express was issued a violation for operating a crane without a certificate of onsite inspection.

  • A violation was issued against Cranes Express at 516 West 27 Street for filing false statements with the DOB.

  • Cranes Express was operating defective equipment at 23-25 31 Street, Queens. The main hoist line was unraveling at the time of a DOB inspection.

  • The Bureau of Environmental Compliance issued a violation against Cranes Express for failing to adopt, implement and have available for inspection a noise mitigation plan for construction at 180 Livingston Street. A hearing was held and the company paid a fine.

  • The DOB issued a violation against Cranes Express for failing to produce the necessary monthly inspection logs showing that the crane had been properly maintained for safe operation at 428 10 Avenue.

200 SCAFFOLDING VIOLATIONS

Spring Scaffolding was hired to work on CIM’s 25-30 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn.

Since 2012, Spring Scaffolding’s practices have resulted in approximately 199 citations and $155,720 in fines from NYC agencies.

Many of these citations were for safety violations, including incidents where workers fell more than 10 feet from a scaffold.

FALSIFIED PAYROLL RECORDS

In 2012, New York Insulation, who was hired to work at CIM’s Gilman Hall Tower project, and its officer were debarred from New York public works projects for falsifying payroll records.

In 2015 the New York Office of the Comptroller extended that debarment until 2020, after finding another falsification of payrolls violation.

WAGE AND HOUR VIOLATIONS

Gilman Hall (photo via Google Maps)

Alba Services was also hired for CIM’s Gilman Hall Tower project and was barred from New York public works contracts for one year starting on May 18th, 2017.

Alba Services, Alba Carting and Demolition, and their shared CEO, are currently facing a lawsuit for wage and hour violations filed by workers who claim they were paid straight time in cash for time worked over 40 hours in a week.

ILLEGAL WASTE DUMPING

CIM hired ECD NY to perform foundation work at 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn.

East Coast Drilling, an entity with the same CEO as ECD NY, is facing a federal lawsuit filed by the NY State District Attorney General for its alleged role in illegal dumping of construction waste containing hazardous substances at Roberto Clemente Park.

This lead to the park being closed for 2 years.

FUND PERFORMANCE

CIM Group’s real estate funds have underperformed their peers.

Out of five closed real estate funds, two of CIM Group’s funds have landed in the bottom quartile.

Three out of five have underperformed the median.

CIM Fund Performance Compared to Peers

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

PAY ATTENTION

Be aware that any marketing suggesting CIM is “labor friendly” is not credible.

DEMAND

Demand CIM adopt a more robust RCP as its current Policy is insufficient.

URGE

Urge CIM to commit to stronger union commitments and ensure higher quality construction standards.

To learn more about the dangers of supporting CIM and the exploitative practices of this fund, download the full memo. CIM introduces the risk of:

  • Worker Deaths

  • Wage Theft

  • Fraud

  • Thousands in Fines

  • Falsified Records

  • Sexual Harassment

Download the Full Memo