Service Company of Williamsburg Apartment Building Sued for Bad Wage Practices

By Jean Brannum |

The New York City Comptroller Brad Lander is suing the Planned Companies divisions for over $72,000 in unpaid wages to custodial staff, doorpeople, and security guards. The company provides services to The Williams apartment building. 

The petition alleges that Planned Lifestyle Services and Planned Building Services failed to pay wages and benefits to staff members who worked at 282 S. 5th Street in Williamsburg. The company provides services to another building in Manhattan. Sam Spilkes LLC owns both buildings and the comptroller alleges that the company owes over $140,000 total in unpaid wages. 

This lawsuit comes after a 2020 case of the same nature. Spilkes and the Comptroller’s office agreed to a settlement in which Spilkes agreed to pay $450,000 in lost wages, the Comptroller reports. The case was based on the same Williamsburg building. 

“We cannot stand by while workers continue to be cheated out of their hard-earned wages,” said Claudia Henriquez, Director of Workers’ Rights at the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law. “This is about ensuring fairness and accountability for all employees employed by Planned.” 

Planned Companies did not respond to a request for comment. 

Under the Real Property Tax 421a law, development companies can receive a tax credit for building multiple dwellings. In exchange, some apartments are subject to rent stabilization. One of the terms of receiving the benefits is that the company pays prevailing wage to workers. The prevailing wage is what workers for public works projects receive. The comptroller alleges that Planned companies violated the 421a eligibility requirements. 

421a expired in 2022, but a “placeholder” law, 485-x, was enacted in April 2024. It provides similar benefits including prevailing wage requirements. 

32BJ SEIU is a union that represents several workers at Planned Companies and helped with getting workers in touch with the comptroller about lost wages. President Manny Pastreich said that the company has repeatedly hurt hard-working staff members and thanked the Comptroller for his help. 

“The union’s going to do its part to defend that, but the comptroller is doing his part,” Pastreich said. “We really appreciate it. We’ve fought very hard to win and defend these standards, and together with the Comptroller, will ensure that these workers get what they deserve.”

Pastreich clarified that this case is an exception and that most companies his union represents pay employees fairly. Pastreich emphasized that real estate companies should only support contractors that pay workers fairly. 

The RealDeal reports that the comptroller’s office has resolved nine wage suits related to 421a buildings since 2022. The cases have involved construction workers rather than building service workers. 


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