Sunday, September 14, 2008

Do Not Lie To The Authorities

Tell The Truth!
It doesn't pay to lie to authorities! The article below from the New York Times, written by Anahad O'Connor clearly reports a Criminal Act by the owner of a construction company where a worker was killed while not being properly secured to prevent his falling from a scaffold in Harlem.

The actions after the incident proved to be a lie to authorities, then a willful act of forging of a worker's identity that identified the fallen worker as a licensed rigger.

There is just plain NO SENSE, especially no Horse Sense for this type thing to happen. I don't know what the maximum charges would be in this case, but it should include putting this company totally out of business and some prison time for this willful cause of a fatality.

2 Arrested After Death at Work Site in Harlem

Malik Hussain was quick to assign blame on Thursday when one of his construction workers, Miguel Rodriguez, fell to his death from a scaffold at a six-story building in Harlem.

Mr. Hussain, 26, told investigators that Mr. Rodriguez, 38, who was patching the building’s facade, broke at least two safety regulations — and he insisted that a licensed foreman had been present at the site, overseeing the work the entire time.

But on Friday, city investigators turned the tables on Mr. Hussain. They charged that immediately after the accident, Mr. Hussain lied to the authorities when he said that a certified foreman had been present. They said that he even went as far as to force an unlicensed employee to pose as one.

Mr. Hussain and the uncertified employee, Jinal Patel, were arrested on Friday and charged with impersonation in the second degree, a misdemeanor that carries up to one year of jail time, the city’s Department of Investigation said.

As a result of the arrests, the authorities said, the Buildings Department is suspending work at 28 other sites across the city where Mr. Hussain’s company, Classic Painting and Restoration of Brooklyn, was working.

“This supervisor showed absolutely no regard for the safety of his workers or the public,” said Robert LiMandri, the commissioner-designate of the Buildings Department. “This tragedy could have been prevented if basic safety regulations were followed.”

According to investigators and witnesses at the scene, Mr. Rodriguez, a husband and father of two who immigrated from Ecuador, was doing patch-up and cement work on the building at 226 West 111 Street when the accident occurred shortly before 2 p.m.

Mr. Rodriguez was on a scaffold between the fifth and sixth floors, the police said, when another worker on the scaffold stepped off and entered the building. Moments later, Mr. Rodriguez, who was wearing a harness that investigators said was not properly attached to the building, plummeted to his death. It was unclear whether Mr. Rodriguez simply fell from the platform or the platform had collapsed, officials said.

In an interview shortly after the accident, Mr. Hussain said that Mr. Rodriguez was at fault for trying to lower the scaffold without his partner.

“He tried to lower the scaffolding by himself,” he said. “It’s against the rules. You have to have two guys at a time.”

When asked whether he had informed Mr. Rodriguez of that regulation, Mr. Hussain said only: “He knows everything. He was working for a long time.”

The names of lawyers for Mr. Hussain and Mr. Patel could not be immediately obtained on Friday night.

According to building codes, the scaffold was required to be set up by a licensed rigger, and a person with certification who could ensure that the scaffold was being operated properly was supposed to be present at the site.

But according to the Department of Investigation, when investigators asked to speak with that person, Mr. Hussain lied to them. They said Mr. Hussain told Mr. Patel to impersonate a rigging foreman, and — days earlier — gave him a government-issued foreman’s identification card to pass off as his own if questioned by inspectors. The card apparently belonged to another employee of Mr. Hussain’s company, the authorities said.

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