Sunday, August 26, 2007

SINGING CANARY GOES UNHEARD: DEUTSCHE BANK


Long before Deutsche Bank burned, the canary sang in the proverbial mine. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was warned and advised a year earlier that the John Galt Corporation was not worthy of the task to dismantle the building. The following documents reveal the unfolding scenario.

Manhattan Community Board 1 Resolution Demanding that LMDC Not Employ Incompetent Contractors, April 18, 2006 COMMITTEE OF ORIGIN: WTC REDEVELOPMENT (Adopted unanimously) RE: Deutsche Bank Demolition Update (aka 130 Liberty Street)

WHEREAS: The demolition in a densely populated area of the heavily contaminated high-rise building at 130 Liberty Street, poses risks to the workers on the job and to people who live and work in the surrounding area; and the abatement and demolition of 130 Liberty should be carried out only by responsible contractors with the experience and qualifications to do the job safely and effectively; and

WHEREAS: Community Board #1 emphasized in its July 27, 2004 resolution that the safety and well-being of local residents and workers must be given the utmost consideration, and called for full and open consultation among all interested parties involved in the project including members of the community; and

WHEREAS: John Galt Corporation has been contracted by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) for abatement and deconstruction work at 130 Liberty Street; and

WHEREAS: Safeway Environmental was also contracted by LMDC to work at130 Liberty Street WHEREAS: Recently, two workers employed by Safeway and John Galt Corporation, respectively, have suffered serious injuries in the course of their work at the site; and

WHEREAS: The New York Daily News has reported that Safeway and John Galt Corporation have ties to each other, and Safeway has a poor safety record and is barred from bidding on New York City School Construction Authority contracts (NY Daily News article "Mob link eyed in bank demolition," by Greg B. Smith, April 16, 2006.

Subcontractor Alters Demolition Plan of Contaminated Deutsche Bank Building
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 New York Daily News Topic: Economic Development
In a March 20 letter, the EPA noted five unapproved additions to the demolition plan of the Deutsche Bank building by John Galt Co., the subcontractor responsible for the toxic cleanup. The expected cost of the demolition plan has risen to $52million, from $46 million, and the LMDC is being blasted for their poor oversight.

WTC contractor fined $37K

July 10, 8:36 am

The Deutsche Bank Building
OSHA cited contractor John Galt Corp. with 12 safety violations for the contractor's demolition work at 130 Liberty Street, the former Deutsche Bank Building. The citations carry $37,500 in fines. In May, work at the skyscraper was halted after a pipe fell from the building's 35th floor onto a neighboring firehouse. At present, the demolition of 130 Liberty is a year behind schedule and around $16 million over budget. more [NYDN]

And despite the warnings, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff still gave Galt a pass.

“In July 2006, E.D.C. and the developer were made aware that D.O.I. had initiated an investigation of Galt that might delay a background clearance, so the developer instead used the next lowest bidder,” said Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Galt’s work at the Deutsche Bank building, however, went on unaffected. Deputy Mayor Doctoroff said the city’s decision to deny Galt the Bronx contract did not obligate the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to re-examine whether Galt was the right company to be working at ground zero.

It is now time to scrutinize the persons responsible for awarding contracts to questionable companies. The safety of the public and those who protect us is at stake.
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