DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Richard and Rice Construction, a full-service general contracting firm based in Deerfield Beach, is working to change the way sub-contractors are vetted, starting with their own company. They are fighting to improve the current system after a legal issue nearly ruined their company through no fault of their own.
In January 2016, owners Gaetan Richard and Murray Rice were surprised and shocked when their Deerfield Beach office was raided. The raid, seizure and arrests had taken place before the government had examined their computers, cell phones, office files and documents. Richard, Rice and four other colleagues were taken into custody on suspicion of workers compensation fraud.
Richard and Rice immediately proclaimed their innocence and would later learn that the actions of a sub-contractor is what roped them into the mess. Richard and Rice Construction and its owners had no reason to believe that there was any wrongdoing and believed that the sub-contractors they were working with were following all laws. As it turned out, the sub-contractor had been caught in workers compensation fraud and misled the police into believing Richard and Rice had knowledge of this, when in fact they did not.
Richard and Rice retained counsel and confronted the allegations, ultimately forcing the state to announce that there was “no smoking gun” and decided not to pursue the case. Meanwhile, they had already spent money on attorney’s fees, lost millions of dollars in contracts and their pristine reputation was compromised.
“I realized when all that was behind us that I would do everything in my power to protect my company,” said Murray Rice, President of Richard and Rice Construction. “I was shocked that 25 years of hard work could be taken away in mere hours solely based on the accusation of another.”
Now the company is leading the industry by taking extra precautions when working with sub-contractors. After consultation with experts in the workers compensation field, they hired a full-time employee whose sole responsibility is to vet sub-contractors and manage all workers compensation and insurance issues to insure full compliance with the all applicable laws. The company conducts surprise audits at its construction sites to ensure that all sub-contractor workers are vetted and on the payroll roster.
“We go above and beyond when it comes to what is required. We are very clear when hiring sub-contractors about how strict our policies are,” said Gaetan Richard, Co-Owner of Richard and Rice Construction. “If they are not willing to hand over the information requested, then we will not hire them, it’s as simple as that.”
Richard and Rice Construction is based in Deerfield Beach but has projects all across the state of Florida.