Two construction executives sentenced to up to 20 years for faking concrete and steel safety tests had their sentences drastically reduced by a state appellate panel on Thursday, the Associated Press reported. The judges dismissed the most serious charge, enterprise corruption, against V. Reddy Kancharla and Vincent Barone, respectively the CEO and vice-president of Testwell Laboratories Inc. Now, the men could serve as little as 16 months — or as much as four years — in prison. … [more]
Posts Tagged ‘testwell laboratories’
At least seven separate construction companies that helped build the Barclays Center have previously been caught for bribery, fraud and other wrongdoings, DNAinfo reported. The subcontractors are now on New York City’s caution list, which provides warnings about past problems with contract bidders.
A total of four were on the caution list while they worked on Barclays, but private developers are not required to consult the list before making hires for a project. [more]
Reddy Kancharla, the president of Testwell Laboratories, was sentenced today to seven to 21 years in prison, after being convicted
of faking results on building materials for close to 120 construction projects in and around the city. The new Yankee Stadium, Ground Zero’s Freedom Tower and at least two dozen other buildings had to be retested because of the crimes. Twice during the case, Kancharla allegedly tried to commit suicide, most recently on the eve of his initial sentencing last month. Wearing a neck brace, he told a Manhattan jury that he was “not a criminal mastermind” and that the case had been a nightmare for him. [AP via Crain’s]
As construction and concrete testing companies and their executives increasingly come under fire in the city, one concrete testing company has received a bit of good news. A State Supreme Court judge ordered the city Department of Buildings to grant a hearing to a Whitestone-based concrete testing company that was denied one after applying to renew its license to operate in New York. The firm, Big Apple Testing, filed suit in January after DOB refused to reinstate its license, claiming the firm previously continued to operate after its license had expired Sept. 15, 2008.
Judge Alice Schlesinger denied a request by the firm to have its license automatically reinstated, but said DOB must give the firm an opportunity to present its case in a face-to-face meeting. “I find that the allegations [against Big Apple], at least in part, appear to be of a rather technical nature and do not appear to smack of fraud or unsafe practices,” Schlesinger wrote in her March 1 opinion, released on March 4. “As was pointed out in the petition, BAT has been conducting business pursuant to a license renewal since 1992, a period of 17 years, apparently without event except for license renewals occasionally filed for [sic] late but always granted.” … [more]
The city’s Department of Buildings is facing litigation from concrete testing company Big Apple Testing, a Queens-based firm whose license renewal was denied last September amid a citywide crackdown on concrete testing standards.
Big Apple Testing filed a so-called Article 78 suit against the buildings department Monday, asking the court for an injunction that would reinstate its concrete testing license or compel the agency to hold a hearing on the case.
Stuart Klein, attorney for Big Apple Testing, said no legitimate reason was given for the license denial, and speculated that the buildings department is looking to secretly weed out certain firms to cover for a widening scandal about construction defects.
“They’re being cute,” Klein said. “They look for guys that are coming up for renewal and say, ‘we won’t renew your license.’ There appears to be no presentation of evidence and you’re effectively boxing against shadows.”
Court filings show that Big Apple had been licensed to test concrete for more than 18 years, involving thousands of sites per year. The firm has annual revenue of more than $900,000. Klein did not have specific details about previous projects the firm worked on. A formal hearing is scheduled for Jan. 20. … [more]
Despite Testwell Laboratories’ claims that alleged fraudulent cement testing documents were the result of clerical mistakes, an investigator from Thatcher Associates said that he saw the safety tests purposefully eschewed at the new Yankee Stadium construction site. Investigator Jim Murphy said that he confronted a Testwell supervisor over the safety tests, and that the supervisor refused to do the tests on the grounds that he was experienced enough to avoid them. “He said he could tell [if the cement was safe] by looking,” Murphy said, according to the New York Post. “He told me he would just make [the test] up.” Testwell is currently standing trial, facing several allegations of fraudulent activity at construction sites throughout the city including at Yankee Stadium and the Freedom Tower.
Opening arguments in the case against Testwell Laboratories, a concrete testing firm accused of falsifying project results, began today. The company, along with four of its top executives, stand accused of filing fake concrete safety reports on over 100 projects in the city, including the new Yankee Stadium and the Freedom Tower at ground zero. Company representatives, however, contend that inconsistencies in testing results are the result of inadvertent mistakes. … [more]
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is continuing its massive 17-month investigation of concrete testing fraud in the city, this time targeting Casa Redimix Concrete. Casa, the subject of an August 6 search warrant, was banned from supplying concrete for the $612 million replacement of the Willis Avenue Bridge the next day, due to a Department of Transportation mandate. However, pending a hearing next month, the company could be allowed to continue work on the bridge, after a victory last Friday in the State Supreme Court. Several New York City concrete testing groups have been subject to scrutiny in recent months including one group, Testwell Laboratories, which tested concrete for over 60 major city buildings, including the Museum of Modern Art and a 40-story Times Square office building.
Concrete in nearly 60 New York City buildings still needs to be retested, more than a year after fraud allegations emerged against one of the city’s largest testing companies, Testwell Laboratories. The Museum of Modern Art and a 40-story office building in Times Square were among the buildings that needed retesting, according to the New York Times. The retesting process is vexing the city Department of Buildings in both scale and degree of difficulty. “There is no accepted standard to retest concrete on this scale, and we have been working with more than 50 engineers associated with the buildings named in the indictment to develop a protocol to ensure all of the tests were done properly,” said department spokesperson Tony Sclafani. The city could have even more to test soon — another concrete testing company, Stallone Testing Laboratories, was formally indicted on similar charges last month. … [more]