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The owner of a former Washington state drywall contracting firm has been ordered to pay $1 million in delinquent workers compensation premiums and penalties after a state insurance board found that he misclassified his employees as co-owners to avoid paying premiums, according to the state Department of Labor and Industries.
“The judgment is believed to be one of L&I's largest-ever holding an employer personally liable for his company's workers' comp premiums, interest and penalties,” according to a statement Tuesday from the labor department, which is Washington state's monopoly workers comp insurer.
The Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals ruled in January that Walla Walla, Washington-based E & E Acoustics L.L.C. underreported employee hours for drywall jobs that the firm performed between April 2007 and June 2009, allowing the firm to reduce the amount of payroll used to determine its workers comp premiums, the state labor department said.
Additionally, the board found that company owner Shawn A. Campbell sometimes listed employees as co-owners in order to exempt E&E Acoustics from paying workers comp premiums for those workers, the labor department said.
Mr. Campbell and his wife were ordered by the industrial appeals board to personally repay $615,000 in premiums, $102,000 in late penalties and $296,000 in interest as of mid-March, the labor department said Tuesday. Money recovered in the case will be paid to the state workers comp fund.
Mr. Campbell has appealed the industrial board's ruling to the Walla Walla County, Washington, Superior Court, according to the labor department.
The department said that Mr. Campbell failed to list any company officers in filings he submitted in 2011 to the Washington state Secretary of State, prompting the department to “administratively dissolve” the business.
The Social Security Administration's proposal that workers compensation benefits be reported annually to the agency would increase insurers' and employers' paperwork and costs.