SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – A church sued the Illinois Department of Labor, claiming it has no power to investigate or regulate how much the church paid workers on three low-income housing projects, because they were funded with federal grants. Abundant Faith Ministries also sued the City of Springfield, claiming it withheld $75,000 in federal Housing and Urban Development grant money because of false allegations that the projects were improperly bid.
In its federal complaint, the church seeks judgment that the facilities it built for seniors, the homeless and low-income families fall under the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets minimum wages for workers on federal projects.
The state Labor Department subpoenaed Abundant Faith three times, seeking the wage rates the church paid workers during the building projects, from 2005 to 2008. Abundant Faith says the projects are not within the state’s jurisdiction because they were funded partially through Community Development Block Grants and other federal programs.
The state Attorney General sent the church a letter in February saying that the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act applies to the projects. The letter “urged Abundant Faith to comply with the subpoenas,” the complaint states.
But the church says the Labor Department “lack(s) authority to investigate Abundant Faith’s compliance with Davis-Bacon Act wage provisions.”
The church also seeks an injunction to force the City of Springfield to release the HUD grant money.
“The city purported to withhold the funds claiming that Abundant Faith had not properly bid the project – although the city knowingly approved the bidding procedures, which were completed before the contract’s execution,” the complaint states.The church is represented by Donald Craven