NYCHA elevator inspectors forced to fudge safety reports: whistleblowers

TRD New York /
May.May 31, 2011 12:28 PM

Six whistle-blowing New York City Housing Authority elevator inspectors have come forward to say they’re being forced to fake reports and take safety shortcuts, according to the New York Daily News. Supervisors, the inspectors say, are obsessed with meeting daily quotas of six inspections per day and often order employees to move to the next job without shutting down dangerous elevators or waiting for a mechanic, as NYCHA rules dictate.

“I told them somebody’s wife could be riding on that elevator, somebody’s kid,” a veteran inspector said. “They didn’t want to hear it.” Another veteran said he was repeatedly told not to enter deficiencies into a hand-held computer that generates work orders.

Anthony DePompeis, a 15-year NYCHA employee inspector, was recently charged with failing to report unsafe elevators and threatening to kill his boss. At a recent hearing, DePompeis said the fight, which resulted in the threat, was over his refusal to fudge reports. “If alarms don’t work of the zone locks don’t work, they say ‘Let it go’,” he testified at the disciplinary trial. “Whenever I seen stop switches broken, I was asked to move on. Whenever I seen zone locks broken, I was asked to move on.”

These revelations come just less than three years after the death of 5-year old Jacob Neuman, who fell to his death, trying to squeeze out of a broken elevator at a Brooklyn housing complex. The fatality provoked various probes and NYCHA vowed to spend $107 million to replace 350 broken elevators and $5 million for new inspectors.

The number of inspectors responsible for 3,326 city elevators has remained unchanged since the incident. There are, however, 74 extra maintenance positions and NYCHA has begun working with private inspection companies.

NYCHA recently announced that it has only a small fraction of the funds— $1.5 billion of $7.5 billion– required to make necessary repairs in New York City public housing projects. [NYDN]

Related Articles

State Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (Credit: Getty Images)

Pols take aim at private equity with plan to tax mezz debt

 NYCHA CEO Gregory Russ and NYCHA houses (Credit: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Getty Images)

NYCHA head: Agency now needs $40B in repairs

Fort Independence Houses at 3340 Bailey Ave in Knightsbridge Heights (Credit: Google Maps)

NYCHA employee allegedly shot boss at Bronx housing project

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

After calls to increase safety, Cuomo signs elevator mechanic licensing bill

Stephen Levin, Brad Lander, 187 and 195 Hoyt Street (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

Pols ponder NYCHA air rights sale for Gowanus

NYCHA Chair Gregory Russ and NYCHA houses in Brooklyn (Credit: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Getty Images)

NYCHA residents are suing for 10 years of rent overcharges

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Ilhan Omar’s $1T housing plan aims to create 12M affordable units

43-20 49th Avenue in Long Island City and Andrew Chung of Innovo Property Group (Credit: Google Maps)

Andrew Chung tees up Queens’ biggest deal of 2019