Charged with ignoring safety hazards, failing to pay fines

A Maine roofing contractor's continued refusal to obey a federal court order to correct safety hazards and pay more than $400,000 in fines could send him to jail. The U.S. Department of Labor has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston to hold Stephen Lessard in civil contempt for defying a 2011 court order to correct violations cited by OSHA and pay $404,000 in fines and interest for the violations levied from 2000 to 2011.

"We have asked the court to subject Lessard to strong sanctions, including incarceration, if he continues to flout the law and the court's earlier order," said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor of labor for New England. "Seeking a contempt order, such as this, is a stringent and infrequent action, but one that is warranted in this case."

Despite all this, Lessard continues to break the law. In January, OSHA cited him for egregious willful, repeated and serious violations for fall-related hazards at another work site and fined him $287,000.