06 June 2008

Why Cranes Keep Crashing

Now we're really getting to the nitty gritty of how dirty and corrupt the Department of Building is, and what exactly is proving to be the hallmark of Bloomberg's administation.

City Room reports that the city’s chief crane inspector is a lying, bribe-taking, records-tampering, soon-to-be felon. James Delayo was arrested Friday and charged with taking money to pass cranes under his review. He also pocketed cash from crane companies who wanted to make sure that their employees would pass the required licensing exam. How did they ensure it? By paying Delayo $3,000 for a copy of the crane operator’s exam and the test answers! More:

Mr. Delayo, who is being prosecuted by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, surrendered this morning to investigators from the city Department of Investigation, the official said.

The charges against Mr. Delayo, 60, were to include third-degree bribe-receiving and first-degree tampering with public records, both D felonies for which he could face up to seven years in prison, come just a week after the city’s second fatal tower crane collapse in 10 weeks.

"This is a case where greed trumps safety," said Daniel J. Castleman, the chief assistant district attorney in Mr. Morgenthau’s office, which is investigating the crane collapse last week. "With all the construction going on in New York City and the fatal accidents of the last few months, this type of conduct can not and will not be tolerated."

Delayo, a 26-year veteran of the Building Department has signed off on the annual inspection of between 20 and 30 Class C cranes since 2002, the Times said. How much did he get for passing on an inspection. A measly few hundred dollar. Hey, that's fair enough for endangering the public's welfare, isn't it?

"In addition to the bribe receiving and tampering with public records counts," said the Times, "prosecutors also expect to charge him with first-degree falsifying business records, an E felony which carries a maximum four-years term, and receiving an unlawful gratuity, a misdemeanor for which he could face up to a year in jail."

So what about all those crane operators who did work while knowing they hadn't taken the test, or had cheated? What about the companies they worked for? Seems to me they should all be arrested and tried.

So, Mayor Mike: Do you still think the federal government and the stage government shouldn't get involved?

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