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Logan • On the same day the U.S. Department of Labor accused Phaze Concrete of improperly employing children and siphoning paychecks to send to the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, anyone with an internet connection could watch the company work here.

Phaze is the concrete subcontractor on a new residence hall being built on the Utah State University campus. The USU department of Housing and Residence Life has posted two cameras so web surfers can watch Phaze and other companies employed on the project erect the $21 million building, located four blocks southeast of the Spectrum basketball arena.

On Wednesday morning, the day after the Labor Department filed an injunction seeking back wages for employees and asking a judge to halt what it calls improper employment of underage workers, Phaze personnel could be seen smoothing the large concrete pad that will be the residence hall's ground floor.

On Thursday, a Salt Lake Tribune reporter and photographer visited the construction site. Phaze workers saw their pictures were being taken, left the excavation site and walked to the superintendent's office. When the reporter and photographer tried entering the site, a Phaze employee swung the gates shut. He opened them when the journalists explained they were going to speak to the job superintendent.

The general contractor on the residence hall is Rimrock Construction, based in Draper. Its superintendent, Duane Householder, said he didn't know what allegations had been leveled against Phaze but noted no underage workers were on the job.

"They're just my subcontractor," Householder said of Phaze, "and they're a good subcontractor."

Moments later, the reporter and photographer approached a Phaze employee. He would not give his name but appeared to be in his 40s. He accused the journalists of trying to harm the company, declined to answer any questions or provide the name of his supervisor or a company attorney, and told the journalists to leave.

"You want to see my concealed-carry permit?" he said angrily.

A year before the Labor Department case was filed, The Tribune published a lengthy investigation of Phaze, which also does business as Jack Daniel's Construction, that quoted former employees describing teenage boys operating heavy machinery and working long hours, and payroll records that showed wages were going to the FLDS.

But the filing Tuesday in federal court in Salt Lake City was the first time the government has alleged problems with Phaze's hiring and payroll. Accounts from two former teenage employees described 13-hour workdays when most children are in school, driving forklifts and excavating equipment and being sent away from family to work on sites in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

It could be months or even years before a judge makes significant rulings in the case. Phaze has not yet responded to the lawsuit. There was no answer Friday morning at the company's offices in Hildale.

Meanwhile, Phaze continues to work in private- and public-sector construction. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality in April listed Phaze as having two active permits for commercial construction projects there.

A spokesman for USU on Friday referred comment to the state's Division of Facilities Construction and Management, which coordinated the bid and is managing the project. That agency's director, Eric Tholen, said the concrete subcontract — the amount Phaze is presumed to be paid — is worth $806,000.

Rimrock submitted its list of subcontractors within 24 hours of winning the bid, Tholen said. Personnel at Facilities Construction and Management had no concerns about Phaze at the time, Tholen said, because the company is licensed by the state.

"Nothing has changed," Tholen said Friday afternoon. "Again, as long as their license is active with the state, and there hasn't been a conviction, we can't act prematurely with it."

He added: "I know that in checking with our project manager that on-site personnel appear to be of age."

Phaze probably couldn't be prohibited from working on state jobs without some kind of appeal hearing, said Joe Chambers, an attorney with the firm Harris, Preston & Chambers, which focuses on construction law. He does not represent a party in the Labor Department's case against Phaze.

If the state were to order Phaze off a public job now, it might expose the state to liability, Chambers said. Such an eviction could be construed as interfering with the general contractor, Chambers said, and Rimrock could seek compensation from the state for the lost productivity while another concrete subcontractor is found.

Chambers said he is not as intrigued by the legal questions as he is the moral one.

"The industry is so competitive that you're trying to get the lowest bid," Chambers said. "I can see where [construction companies] would overlook" labor violations.

Tholen said the residence hall is not being financed with taxpayer money. The financing comes from the fees USU students pay to live in the residence hall.

On Friday, the USU webcams showed work continuing on the project.

Twitter: @natecarlisle