New York building safety inspectors are supposed to be watching out for the public, and they are licensed to assess the level of risk presented by asbestos and lead in standing buildings and at new construction sites. Saverio F. Todaro was one of these inspectors, and over the past 10 years, he submitted more than 200 inspections report, giving hundreds of buildings clean bills of health.
There is a problem, though. He never actually completed a single one of these tests.
Lead poisoning can cause serious complications in both adults and children – ranging from insomnia to cognitive disabilities. Especially for young children, the effect of lead poisoning on the nervous system can lead to permanent disabilities.
Asbestos has long been known to cause cancer and lung disease.
The question for prosecutors right now is whether Todaro was a lone bad apple, or if his ethical failure was more widespread. Officials are also concerned about the oversight system that allowed this to happen for so many years and, seemingly, without much trouble for Todaro.
Lastly, investigators are looking into the issue of whether Todaro was bribed by building owners, contracting companies or building management firms.
As for the number of people potentially affected by Todaro’s deceit, it is hard to give an accurate estimate. As the New York Times notes, several of the buildings have been torn down since their supposed inspection, and it is impossible to gather any information at this time.
Asbestos and lead poisoning could lead to a large number of personal injury cases, should current and former inhabitants of the buildings in question be able to prove that they are affected by ailments resulting from either.