In what is becoming an interesting roll out with respect to the awarding of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Management and Marketing (M&M) Field Service Manager (FSM) 3.10 Contracts, it appears that April Cooper, owner of Alpine Companies and HUD Awardee for Region 7A Georgia, is taking a page out of the 1960’s. At first glance, the Alpine Companies Submission Page is a hodge podge of what appears to be W2 and W9 solicitation language. As most things go in the Mortgage Field Services Industry, it looks like not a lot of thought is being given with respect to what HUD Prime Vendors are allowed to do and not to do.
First, let’s get something straight. There are two, successfully completed, lawsuits which have worked their way through the federal judiciary, both of which dealt with the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The first, Hurst v Buczek, was decided in 2012 in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. That resulted in Buczek Enterprises shelling out a six figure settlement. Earlier this year, in Bowerman v Field Asset Services, an astounding 50 Page Ruling was issued by the same Court. It took great pains to lecture Assurant, whom now owns Field Asset Services as Assurant Field Asset Services, with respect to precisely what causes the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. We also have Vinson v AMS – MCS. In the Vinson matter, there are well over 130 people involved in yet another, nearly identical misclassification case.
In the short term, power is neither created nor destroyed; it can only be moved. Somebody always has it. If you take it away from one group, there will be another group that wants to take it from you.
How bad is it getting? Well, we know that for the greater part of yesterday, the Purdy Enterprise website was lost in cyberspace. We know that Alpine Companies does not have the technological know how to even add an application to their website. And we are now hearing that Best Assets is seriously contemplating simply turning down HUD M&M FSM 3.10 Award for Idaho and Nevada due to their inability to financially sustain what appears to be a losing proposition according to sources close to the matter.
Every service employee performing any of the Government contract work under a service contract in excess of $2,500 must be paid not less than the monetary wages, and must be furnished fringe benefits, which the Secretary of Labor has determined to be prevailing in the locality for the classification in which the employee is working or the wage rates and fringe benefits (including any accrued or prospective wage rates and fringe benefits) contained in a predecessor contractor’s collective bargaining agreement. The wage rates and fringe benefits required are specified in the SCA wage determination included in the contract. If no wage determination has been made applicable to the contract, employees performing work under the contract must be paid not less than the federal minimum wage provided in section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
And where is that leaving the Minority Females and Labor? Well, perhaps in a better position than ever before. Alpine Companies states that they are under the impression that all they may hire are W2 personnel. I, for one, am all for that. And let me tell you why in the way that only a trained media professional such as myself, is capable of doing. When firms such as Purdy Enterprise, Alpine Companies, or SAMJV LLC, choose to put W2 personnel in the field, those employees are governed under the Service Contract Act (SCA). What that means is that the proposed minimum wage or so which these firms would need to pay in order to still make a profit, would be illegal. And when we come back and look at Alpine Companies belief that they will be able to onboard employees and force them to use their own equipment as a lend – lease scheme kind of summarizes literally how low these firms have underbid the Contracts.
Foreclosurepedia spoke with an International Association of Field Service Technician (IAFST) Member whom handled tens of millions of dollars in work orders last year. They had actually ran several W2 Crews, in the field, on Contracts which DID NOT require SCA payscales. They averaged roughly $50,000, per person, in start up expenses.
I want to be very clear on a couple of points. First, it is illegal to drug test independent contractors on the HUD M&M FSM 3.10 Contract. In fact, this is what HUD had to say,
Drug testing is mandatory for prime contractors (over $100K), but interestingly, it doesn’t flow down to subcontractors (see https://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/screenfq.htm).
Second, when we begin to drill down on precisely what SCA levels apply with respect to the services being performed upon HUD M&M FSM 3.10 assets, W2 personnel may make as much as over $100 per hour depending upon that which they do on any given day. If an employee during a workweek works in different capacities in the performance of the contract, the employee must be paid the highest of the wage rates for all hours worked in the workweek unless the employer segregates the hours worked in each capacity and pays accordingly. And make no mistake whatsoever, Foreclosurepedia will do everything in its power to ensure that Minority Females and Labor are properly paid not just the wages they are owed under SCA, but health and welfare benefits required and equal roughly an additional $3.16 per hour.
We know, for a fact, that the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) refuses to become directly involved with the enforcement of federal Wage and Hour provisions. In fact, Foreclosurepedia has not only attempted to discuss such with NAMFS, we attempted to call Eric Miller, the NAMFS Executive Director, last night, for comment. It is not surprising as Miller’s salary is over $120,240 per year and consumes over SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT of all NAMFS Member dues.
We also know that in addition to pricing expected to be the lowest in the history of the HUD M&M FSM Contract, firms like Purdy Enterprise are investing in new and exotic software platforms. For example, Mitch Davidson, the former Vice President of Market Ready, the very same Market Ready whom refused to appeal their Size Protest, teamed up with FotoNotes. And regardless of what Davidson has to say about his interactions with Market Ready Davidson has his eyes on pushing FotoNotes upon his competitors as well according to April Cooper. Cooper stated that Davidson had recommended FotoNotes to Alpine Companies several weeks ago.
Everyone, except Minority Females and Labor, are capitalizing upon millions of dollars in contracting and referrals. In fact, Foreclosurepedia is of the belief that Davidson’s campaign to push FotoNotes profits him substantially. And that is the dirty secret that no one wants to talk about.
This round of HUD M&M FSM Contracts have been the most questionable in the history of HUD’s Contracting. Whether it is how a Vice President of Market Ready in charge of Business Development, Mitchell R Davidson, wrote the winning contracts for Purdy Enterprise in two different HUD Regions and yet new absolutely nothing about the HUD Business Development at Market Ready; whether it be how Davidson alleges that his entire operation was known to and approved by Craig Karnes, the HUD M&M Director; whether it be how Davidson then became the Chief Operations Officer of Purdy Enterprises and both marketed FotoNotes to they and others, one thing that is missing is full disclosure and transparency.
In fact, in a paid promotional article, Davidson is the cheerleader rolled out to sponsor FotoNotes in a HousingWire article, yesterday,
“We selected FotoNotes because the product is highly configurable and constantly improving, provides a cutting edge mobile experience, has a highly robust and reliable cloud and web based backend, is API friendly, and is significantly helpful to our field subcontractors,” said Mitch Davidson, Purdy’s chief operating officer.
And the HousingWire is just about as honest as Davidson’s statements pertaining to his involvement with Market Ready. To say that Purdy Enterprise is providing investor services is pure and unadulterated bullshit. The level to which Davidson has stooped is a testament to the crisis and corruption in which HUD Contracting has become.
And as both Purdy Enterprise and Alpine Companies have both swarmed down upon A2Z Field Services Charlotte office, neither have stated what part of the Contract money, if any, will ever reach Minority Females or Labor.
Over the next several weeks, Foreclosurepedia will begin the process of filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with respect to both Market Ready and Mitchell R Davidson. We are teaming up with several other media organizations to bring to light what has always been the seedy underbelly of HUD Contracting. We have reached out to Market Ready, Mitch Davidson, and Purdy Enterprise for public comment. While privately, Davidson continues to state that he knew nothing of the HUD Contracting process at Market Ready while he in charge of Business Development, we have been unable to substantiate this. Moreover, we have also been unable to substantiate Davidson’s claims that Craig Karnes was not only aware of Davidson’s actions, but had also authorized such.
As we continue to dig deeper into all of the HUD Awardees, only one has been willing to be transparent. Guardian Asset Management (GAM). GAM, a Member of the International Association of Field Service Technicians (IAFST), replied on the day of their Awards in both Arizona and California, Hawaii, Guam, and Northern Marianas Islands, that they were willing to work directly with Minority Females and Labor. It is tragic that GAM and only GAM appear concerned with the plight of Minority Females and Labor while others seek only to enrich themselves at the detriment of others.
For those whom believe that no one should question why a company such as Alpine Companies should be allowed to demand proof of US Citizenship in a Pre Application process I ask whether those people eat with a silver spoon from Eric Miller’s table. For those whom believe that Mitch Davidson should not be compelled to show documentation proving he did not collude with Thomas Purdy, I ask how much money is Purdy Enterprise paying them or if that money is, instead, originating from FotoNotes. And in closing, does anyone find it odd that the owner of Purdy Enterprise has not said anything, to date? I mean does it strike anyone as odd that Thomas Purdy appears not capable of running his own Company? In essence, is not Market Ready now running Purdy Enterprise?