Business Owners Arrested for Not Paying Union Workers

Reported By Eric Deabill

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY — The two owners of a drywall business in Lackawanna County are facing criminal charges. Paul and James Sinkaus were charged with theft Tuesday morning for not fully paying union workers for the past year.

Leaving court James Sinkaus made several promises. They involved fully paying people who worked for his drywall business in Taylor. “It’s a father-son company and we had some issues with what happened but we’ll show we’re innocent,” he said.

According to prosecutors, James Sinkaus and his father Paul ran the drywall business JVS Specialties out of this house on Claire Drive in Taylor. But it wasn’t always on the up-and-up. Assistant District Attorney Paul Ware said, “We’ve been working with the people from the painters union for the last month or so.”

According to Ware the Sinkaus’ didn’t pay ten people from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades their full salary. In all they deducted about $90,000.

Prosecutors say in the end the workers are the ones to suffer. “They don’t have their pensions payments made. They don’t have their health and welfare payments made and because of that — they suffer in the long run,” said Ware.

A lawyer for both Paul and James Sinkaus blames the situation on the bad economic times. Defense Attorney Mark Powell said, “Everyone of these projects are open projects. They did not receive money and not pay it. They simply are waiting to get money from contractors that they are hired by.”

“It’s hard economic times for everyone, particularly for the people — the members of the painters union. They didn’t do this for nothing. They did it and they expected to be paid,” countered Ware.

While prosecutors say the Sinkaus’ didn’t originally pay more than $90,000 to the union, they’ve started to make some payments. Right now, they still owe $51,000. Both men are free on unsecured bail.

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