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UPDATE: HARCO - "We Will Not Obey"

Looks like contractors can get away with manslaughter, at least on worksites in New York City.

July 14, 2016

Here's what we know:

  • Harco Construction was found guilty of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice A. Kirke Bartley in June after 22-year old Carlos Moncayo was buried alive in a collapsing construction pit in New York City, despite numerous warnings by OSHA on that very day that the 13-foot deep, unsecured trench was dangerous.
  • Carlos died.
  • Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, and 22 other trade organizations, sent letters to the sentencing judge advocating Harco get the toughest penalty possible.
  • Wednesday, Judge Bartley ruled that Harco Construction would not face the $35,000 fine the prosecution pushed for and instead Harco could avoid any jail time if it funded and produced a court-sanctioned public service announcement on TV, advocating in English and Spanish for stricter construction safety. The alternative to doing the PSA would be a $10,000 fine.
  • Harco's attorney, Ron Fischetti, told the court that the sentence options handed down didn't work for his client and Harco that plans to appeal.
  • According to the Commercial Observer, Fishetti said, “We cannot do that. It’s not that we will not do it; we cannot do it. We could just let this go and pay the $10,000 fine. But we’re not doing it because they didn’t do anything wrong.” By participating in the ad campaign, which Fischetti said would cost “hundreds of thousands” of dollars, “we would have to bear some of the responsibility of the accident, and we’re not guilty.”

"Today's sentencing of Harco Construction was a travesty as the court's options were either to inflict a small fine or give a conditional discharge pending they fund a series of PSA’s,” said LaBarbera. "Neither option is even close to what is deserved when a reckless contractor so clearly puts profits over people."

A hearing on whether Harco meets the terms of its conditional discharge is scheduled for December 14. Last year, Harco's license was revoked by the New York's Buildings Department.

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