Attorney General Cuomo Announces Arrest Of Capital Region Tannery President For Failure To Cover Employees With Workers' Compensation

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 18, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of the president of a Gloversville tannery who illegally failed to secure workers’ compensation insurance for more than 25 employees.

Michael DeMagistris, 35, the President of Tradition Leather, Inc., located on West 11th Avenue in Gloversville, was charged with failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for his employees from June 16, 2007 until March 10, 2008, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

“When employers refuse to maintain workers’ compensation coverage as required by the law, they cheat the system, the workers, law-abiding employers, and taxpayers of New York state,” said Attorney General Cuomo.  “This Office will vigorously prosecute all those employers who flout the law and pocket profits while not protecting their workers.”
 
In March of 2008, an uninsured worker’s claim sparked an investigation into Tradition Leather’s failure to maintain coverage for their workers.  The Workers’ Compensation Board issued a “Stop Work” order.  Nonetheless, DeMagistris continued to operate his business and failed to obtain the required coverage for his employees, in defiance of the order.

DeMagistris was arraigned today before Judge Frederick Stortecky in Gloversville City Court and sent to jail in lieu of $75,000 bail pending a return court appearance on Wednesday, August 20, 2008.

“Workers’ Compensation is a basic protection that every New York employee is entitled to by law,” said New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Zachary Weiss. “Denying any employee this protection is unfair, criminal, and won't be tolerated.”

Under state law, any employer of more than 5 people who fails to cover their employees through this insurance is committing a class “E” felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.  Last week, Attorney General Cuomo charged the CEO of a Bronx nursing home, which employs over 400 people, with failing to provide coverage for more than one year. 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Meredith McGowan with Investigator Michael Battisti of the Attorney General’s Office, and Workers’ Compensation Board Investigators Michael T. Hunter and Terri Cooper.  This case is being supervised by Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice James Rogers and Deputy Bureau Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Felice Sontupe.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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