A Wayland construction company and its owner pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that they falsified workplace safety affidavits required for working in Boston, where two of their workers were killed at a job site in February.
Laurence M. Moloney, 57, of Quincy, was released without bail and ordered to return to Suffolk Superior Court on Jan. 19.
Last week, a Suffolk County grand jury indicted him, his company, Atlantic Coast Utilities, and a former employee on perjury charges alleging the business provided city regulators with falsified records about its safety history four different times beginning in October 2019.
Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero, 27, of Lynn, and Juan Carlos Figueroa Gutierrez, 33, of Somerville, died after being hit by a dump truck and thrown into a 9-foot trench on High Street, where they were doing sewer work for a private landlord on Feb. 24.
The perjury case does not accuse Atlantic Coast Utilities or its associates of criminal wrongdoing in the workers’ deaths.
Rather, the prosecution focuses on what is known as a “Mattocks-Higgins Affidavit of Workplace Safety,” which requires contractors to disclose any safety citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against their business. Contractors must submit the affidavit to receive a work permit in Boston.
The requirement was enacted by former mayor Martin J. Walsh after two men — Kelvin Mattocks and Robert Higgins — died in a 2016 trench collapse in the South End. Walsh resigned earlier this year to lead the US Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA.
Moloney allegedly submitted false affidavits to the city on his company’s behalf on March 20, 2019, Aug. 6, 2019, and Dec. 1, 2020, stating that the company had no prior OSHA safety violations, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Feigenbaum said in court. Konstantinos Kollias, 35, of Newton, who worked for Atlantic Coast Utilities, allegedly submitted a false affidavit to the city along the same lines on Oct. 7, 2019, she said.
The affidavits were false because Atlantic Coast Utilities had, in fact, been issued citations by OSHA on Sept. 8, 2016, and again on June 3, 2019, Feigenbaum said.
The company faces four counts of perjury and Moloney faces three counts of perjury. Kollias is charged with a single count of perjury. His arraignment was postponed until Monday.
In August, OSHA cited Atlantic Coast Utilities for “willful, repeat and serious” workplace safety violations and proposed a penalty of $1.3 million, which Moloney is contesting. A settlement conference before an administrative law judge with the OSHA Review Commission is scheduled for Feb. 14, according to an OSHA spokesman.