On May 30, 2008, New Yorkers in the vicinity of the Azure condo building on East 91st and First Avenue were shaken by a tremendous crash. When the dust cleared, bystanders were shocked to see the top of a large crane lying on the ground amidst the rubble and debris.
The construction accident killed two people, including the crane operator, who was using the giant machine to do work near the top of the brand new Azure condominium project. When the straps and joints near the top of the crane gave way, it tumbled to the ground, causing extensive damage to a building near the construction site.
10 days earlier, a citizen had called the New York Department of Buildings to report unsafe conditions at the site. A DOB inspector was dispatched, but reported that everything was in order and signed off on the inquiry.
In May of this year, the crane company’s owner admitted to paying off the DOB inspector to green light the operation, despite serious deficiencies at the construction site. The payoffs began eight years before the accident, in 2000, and continued up until the fatal crane collapse.
In total, according to The Real Deal, the DOB inspector was paid between $4,000 and $10,000 during that time to cover up safety issues.
This week, the crane company owner was sentenced to between two and six years in state prison. The sentence pertained only to the charges of bribery. The former DOB inspector was also sentenced to two years in a New York prison.