LAWRENCEVILLE -- A county audit found that illegal immigrants worked to dismantle Gwinnett's famous water towers last year.
Contractor Tristar was found to be noncompliant during a worker verification audit conducted by the county's Performance Analysis Division.
Although the Norcross company fired the illegal workers, the company lost the contract, and the county turned to another contractor to complete the work, government spokesman Joe Sorenson said.
The mistake cost taxpayers nearly $10,000 more than the original project cost, after Tristar was paid $107,000 for the work performed and another contractor was paid another nearly $52,000 to complete the job, Sorenson said.
Three years ago, the county's purchasing ordinance has included a new state law mandated that contractors must verify the immigration status of their new employees, through the E-verify system.
Since then, the county's Performance Analysis Division has performed 17 worker verification audits, about five to seven a year.
"Audit resources are limited and are applied to best meet the broad needs of ensuring proper coverage of all the issues faced by the county," Sorenson said. "Companies are selected, at random, from a list of hundreds of contracts. The purpose of the audit is to ensure that these companies are using legally authorized workers on county projects."