New York Insulation, the company Lightstone Group has selected to remove asbestos at its East Village hotel development site, has a poor history of safety and labor relations, according to critics of the development.
The New York State Department of Labor has banned the contractor from bidding on public projects until 2020, DNAinfo reported. The company pleaded guilty to wage fraud in 2012, and was forced to pay a fine to Nassau County and $30,000 in back pay to six employees, according to the news website. However, a representative for the mayor said the contractor is certified by New York State to perform asbestos abatement, and that its paper work with the Department of Environment is up to scratch.
“This deal is so bad on so many levels,” said State Sen. Brad Hoylman, according to DNAinfo. Hoylman was joined by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick at a Wednesday protest at the site.
Labor groups have also accused the New York Insulation of not following proper protocol for asbestos removal at jobs the past.
Lightstone — headed by David Lichtenstein — has joined with Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels to build an approximately 300-key hotel at the site at 112-120 East 11th Street. Lightstone acquired the site, which includes five tenement buildings, in April for $127 million from Pan Am Equities. The company closed with a $85 million acquisition loan from Goldman Sachs. It has applied for demolition permits but they haven’t yet been issued, according to DOB records.