EUGENE, Ore. - State labor officials confirmed they have an open investigation into the Capstone Collegitate Communities apartment project in downtown Eugene as a regional union lays claim to knowledge of problems on the multi-million dollar project.
But a spokesman for the construction project said the union has refused to share any details, making it difficult to investigate.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries expects to take at least 3 months to investigate the allegations against the housing project in downtown Eugene, said spokesman Charlie Burr.
The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters claims workers on the Capstone project received cash payments that skirt state and federal law. The union also claims knowledge of worksite sanitation issues, including allegations of a bathtub used as a urinal.
"We feel the treatment of the workers on the Capstone project is atrocious," said Ben Basom with the union. "Capstone was given $8.5 million in tax deferments to build this much-needed project, and they end up cheating the city and state out of payroll tax revenue?"
Pat Walsh, the local spokesperson for the project, said Capstone and the contractor, Construction Enterprise Inc., were caught off guard by the allegations.
"This is the first time that Capstone and CEI have heard of these allegations," he said. "They've asked the union to take a look at their report. The union has refused to provide it. In the meantime, Capstone and CEI take these allegations very seriously and CEI will look into the allegations that we know about."
KVAL News asked Walsh if any of the union's complaints are valid.
"We don't know," he said. "We need to take a look at how the subcontractors are handling their contracts. Until we see what the union is talking about, we don't know what we're responding to."
Documents released by BOLI show state officials authorizing investigators to look beyond the scope of the complaint itself. The documents also indicate the complaint was filed by a union "salt," someone who gets a job on a project with the intent of organizing a union or watchdogging for violations.