A coalition of 22 groups – including Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance and the powerful Building Trades union – is asking a New York judge to hand down the maximum sentence possible to Harco Construction in charges related to a construction worker’s death last year at a Meatpacking District work site.
The district attorney’s office submitted its sentencing recommendation last week, which was accompanied by letters from labor unions, community groups and the Building Trade Employers’ Association, according to DNAinfo.
Judge A. Kirke Bartley found Harco guilty of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after 22-year-old Carlos Moncayo died last year at 9-19 Ninth Avenue, the former home of French bistro Pastis. According to reports, the excavation of the property was not properly shored up. Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate are redeveloping the commercial building into a Restoration Hardware.
On top of fines for each of its felony and misdemeanor charges, Vance wants Harco to pay for a TV and print campaign to run this fall in English and Spanish to promote worker safety.
In its letter, BTEA disputed the notion that Harco’s conviction was a problem for the industry.
“BTEA contractors are sick and tired of contractors like Harco defining the public perception of how serious and important public and worker safety is to them and the way they manage the thousands of construction projects they are responsible for in New York City,” CEO Lou Coletti wrote.
Harco attorneys have argued that Harco should not be held responsible for the fatal accident since it had no employees on the site other than a superintendent.
That superintendent, Alfonso Prestia, is also being charged in Moncayo’s death, along with Sky Materials Corp., and its foreman Wilmer Cueva, who are responsible for the excavation. That trial hasn’t yet started. [DNAinfo] – E.B. Solomont