The Real Deal New York

Mob-connected construction company ousted from Columbia expansion

May 25, 2012 12:30PM

The March collapse at 606 West 131st St. (credit: DNAinfo)

Following the collapse of a West 131st Street building in March, Breeze National, the Brooklyn-based, mob-connected demolition company that was running this project and others for Columbia University’s expansion, has been taken off the job, the Daily News reported.

As The Real Deal previously reported, one of the buildings the company was demolishing at 606 West 131st Street collapsed in March, killing one worker and injuring two others. The family of Juan Vicente Ruiz, Sr., the worker who died in the accident, is suing Columbia University, alleging that the construction site was unsafe.

A spokesperson from Breeze declined to comment on its ouster, but told the News that the company did nothing wrong in connection to the collapse — the reason for the collapse was probably linked to a structural defect. However, Breeze was served with violations for failure to notify the city of its demolition and failure to protect the people and property affected by the collapse.

Toby Romano, the Luchese crime family associate, headed the company for years, but was convicted in 1988 of bribing inspectors to overlook health violations for asbestos-removal projects. Toby Jr., his son, now runs Breeze National. [NYDN]

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