A trustee of the Gagne Precast Concrete Products Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan has agreed to restore $225,000 to the ESOP and take other corrective action to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor. The suit alleged that Stephen Thomas individually and as a trustee for the plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The department filed suit against Thomas regarding the Gagne ESOP in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in February 2011, following an investigation by the Boston Regional Office of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration. The investigation found that Thomas violated his fiduciary duty by misappropriating or improperly diverting plan assets. He also was asked to pay back $75,000 to the Frank L. Woodworth Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, for which he also was a trustee.

Thomas has agreed to the appointment of an independent fiduciary, Northeast Retirement Services, for both plans, and will transfer all accounts of the ESOPs to accounts established in the name of the independent fiduciary. In addition to reimbursing both plans, Thomas will be responsible for all costs associated with administering them. The funds will be collected through a payment plan, with interim payments to be held by the independent fiduciary until distribution to the ESOPs' participants.

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