TRENTON – The state is fighting Monday’s ruling allowing embattled engineering firm Birdsall to pay its workers.
The state Office of the Attorney General said it filed an appeal in the U.S. District Court regarding the interim order issued by Judge Michael Kaplan Monday regarding the $1.6 million to be used to meet two weeks’ worth of payroll.
Kaplan ordered that more than $1.6 million of payroll be restored to pay some 325 “rank and file” employees, saying not doing so would jeopardize their ability to pay for rent, mortgages and groceries in a post-Sandy New Jersey.
Birdsall was fighting for control of its funds after the state moved to seize assets following indictments of seven executives on pay-to-play charges.
Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the AG’s office, explained that the intent of the appeal is not to block outstanding wages to innocent employees.
“The purpose is to preserve our appellate rights,” Aseltine said. “We don’t want any precedent set that enables a criminal defendant whose assets are seized in state court to jump into federal bankruptcy court as a means to evade the state court order.”
The state wants to put an auditor in place to oversee those funds and safeguard company assets.
“The company refused that offer,” Aseltine said.
Birdsall lawyers argued on Monday that the firm already has a “monitor” in place.