PORTLAND, Maine — A panel of federal judges have stepped up pressure on the owner of Greene-based roofing company Lessard Roofing & Siding to pay $404,485 in fines and prove he has fixed various safety violations dating back to 2011.
Judges for the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals this week placed Stephen Lessard and two companies he owns in civil contempt of judgments against him from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The latest court action sets a 20-day deadline for Lessard to pay the fines and provide written proof that his company corrected conditions cited in 11 separate violations. If not, the court could decide Lessard should be placed in jail.
Regulators petitioned the court to find Lessard in contempt, they said, after inspections at 11 of the company’s worksites from 2003 to 2011 found that employees were exposed to various fall risks.
In July 2014, OSHA said it conducted a follow-up inspection and found that three employees were doing work without required fall protection.
The company was issued a $243,000 fine in 2011. OSHA’s area director for its Augusta office, Maryann Medeiros, testified in February that the fine was not paid and the company did not provide proof that the safety violations were resolved.
Lessard told The Associated Press at the time that his company had not willfully violated any rules and that the federal regulators had singled out his company.
Lessard filed and was granted a motion in March to extend a deadline to respond to state regulators’ request for a finding of contempt against him.
He wrote in that motion in March that he had been unable to find an attorney and that he believed, based on conversations with officials at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Boston office, that he would be able to reach a settlement.
The Department of Labor wrote in May that the parties were unable to reach a settlement.