The Real Deal New York

Construction foreman sentenced in worker’s death at Meatpacking District site

Wilmer Cueva could serve up to 3 years in prison
December 15, 2016 02:15PM

9-19 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District in April 2015
(credit: New York District Attorney’s Office)

A construction foreman who was found responsible for the 2015 death of a 22-year-old worker at a Meatpacking District job site was sentenced to one-to-three years in prison, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced Thursday.

Wilmer Cueva, 51, was found guilty last month on charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after he apparently ignored warnings about safety issues at the construction site at 9-19 Ninth Avenue, the site of a Restoration Hardware store developed by Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate. Carlos Moncayo died after a trench at the site collapsed in April 2015.

In June, the project’s contractor Harco Construction was convicted of manslaughter. Cueva worked for Sky Materials, the subcontractor hired to manage construction at the site.

“In the face of multiple warnings about the perilous conditions he created at 9-19 Ninth Avenue, Cueva personally directed — and then declined to stop — his illegal excavation work, and Carlos Moncayo… perished needlessly as a result,” Vance said in a statement.

In its October issue, The Real Deal examined how contractors and developers attempt to balance worker safety and the pressure to finish construction on time and under budget. — E.B. Solomont