Abraham/Sanchez Corporation / Abraham Rest Home Inc.
Abraham/Sanchez Corporation and Abraham Rest Home Inc. committed wage theft against at least 56 workers at care homes in Contra Costa County. Investigations began in 2012 and 2013 following complaints made to the U.S. Department of Labor and the California Department of Industrial Relations regarding labor practices at several care homes. In November 2013, the Department of Industrial Relations and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office conducted a joint operation at eight care homes in Walnut Creek and Concord.
Alki Construction LLC
American Bumper & Manufacturing Co.
Two workers died and one was hospitalized when the Weingarten 101 hydraulic press they were operating malfunctioned.
Batres brought workers to Minnesota and threatened to report them to immigration officials if they raised complaints about dangerous workign conditions or underpayment of wages. He threatened workers who had been injured that they would be deported if they sought medical attention. One of the workers suffered from spinal fractures after a prefab wall fell on him. Another worker was forced to endure threats and physical restraint. In 2017, he paid $6,000 to bond a man out of ICE custody and then coerced the man to work to pay back his debt; Batres would have received the money back when the man returned to court. Batres admitted to lying on his workers' compensation insurance policy by reporting he had no employees, which saved him $5,000 in premiums.
American Plant Services
Safety violations at a refinery caused a maintenance worker to suffer second degree and third degree burns over more than 70 percent of his body when he was scalded by 950-degree oil. None of the valves were labeled and the worker had never performed the task alone before. (Date below is approximate.)
Atlantic Drain Services Inc.
Two construction workers drowned while working in a 14 feet deep unshored trench when the trench collapsed, burying the workers up to their waist in dirt. A fire hydrant supported by the collapsed dirt was suspended by its water line, which snapped, and filled the trench with water in seconds. Firefighters spent hours digging through the rubble to recover the two bodies. After the incident, the owner, Kevin Otto, sought to deceive authorities by forging employees' signatures to make it appear they had completed trench safety courses (which were required because of the company's earlier OSHA violations). The company has been cited numerous times and received repeat and willful citations. Otto and Atlantic Drain services had two prior OSHA violations in the past 10 years, and were required to undergo training as a result of those violations.
AVM Construction Corp.
Between 2014 and 2015, defendants falsified payroll summaries to indicate that workers were being paid prevailing wages for public works projects, when in fact, workers were paid less than prevailing wages. Defendants failed to pay employees approximately $281,000 in wages. Defendant Vickram Mangru owned and operated Vick Construction from 2012 to 2014, and when the company was disbarred by the NYC Comptroller’s Office from performing on public works projects for 5 years after failing to pay prevailing wages to workers, AVM was created by Vickram Mangru.
Bednar Landscape Services Inc.
Black Mag Gunpowder
Gunpowder manufacturing plant exploded killing two employees and injuring a third. The owner, Craig Sanborn, was not in the state at the time of the incident and did not provide his employees with safety training or safety procedures. They were not wearing protective clothing and no warning signs were posted. Sanborn consistently ran afoul of inspectors. A state police bomb inspector told Sanborn he could only store 50 pounds of powder so the inspector denied Sanborn's application to store 1,000 pounds of gunpowder at the site, but Sanborn did it anyway.
Bland Construction Co.
Bland Construction Company was in the process of constructing a wasterwater line when a portion of a trench wall collapsed, killing Victor Nazario, an employee of the company. Gregorio Reza was operating a backhoe at the trench. Between 8:30 am and 9:00 am, Reza stopped his excavating work in order to straighten out a light that was used to check the trench' s grade. At that time, Nazario entered the trench to take grade pole measurements. While in the trench, the wall collapsed and Nazario was killed. One year prior to this accident, Bland received two citations alleging various trenching violations, including two instances of failure to perform sloping or shoring, apparently in soil. Reza was given an OSHA seminar and pamphlet on trenching safety, however it was in English, which he could not understand.
BMY Foods Inc
The defendants did not pay 300 current and former workers at nine Papa John’s franchise establishments the legally required overtime pay. They paid overtime hours in cash and created fake names for the employees in the timekeeping system to get around paying overtime pay. They filed fraudulent tax returns that left off the cash payments made to the fake employees.
Bumble Bee Foods
Jose Melena died when he was cooked alive inside an industrial oven called a 'retort.' Cal/OSHA found that Melena had entered the oven to make a repair or adjustment on a chain inside the machine. He left a pallet jack he used to load the tuna into the oven outside of the oven. Another employee saw that the pallet jack was not being used and assumed that Melena was in the bathroom, so the employee proceeded to use the pallet jack. A supervisor noticed the employee was using Melena's pallet jack and asked where he was, prompting an announcement over the intercom and a search of the plant. After searching for about an hour and a half, an employee suggested looking in the last oven that had been loaded, which is where they found Melena's body. The company did not have Lockout/Tagout procedures requiring the equipment to be turned off with an employee inside or provide an escape route or a spotter to keep watch with a worker in a confined space.
California C&R Inc.
Antonio Martinez died when he fell from a 38 feet high apartment building roof where he was working without a harness. Evidence presented to the Grand Jury showed there were no safety measures in place at the worksite, according to news sources.
California Pacific Poultry
A worker was crushed to death in a poultry blender. The date below is approximate.
Two employees and four customers of a Salvation Army were killed, and 13 others were injured, when the remains of a demolished wall fell onto the store. The wall that fell was part of a building owned by Richard Basciano, who had hired contractor Griffin Campbell to demolish it. Campbell then hired Sean Benschop to operate the excavator that was used in the demolition. Benschop's use of the excavator caused the wall to fall onto the Salvation Army. The family of Ann Bryan revealed after the incident that their daughter survived for ten hours beneath the collapsed building before she succumbed to her injuries. A construction worker who witnessed the collapse said there was not any bracing to support the wall of the building during the demolition. Campbell had a criminal history. He also tested positive for drugs after the incident. He had a valid contractor license but had previously been questioned about his demolition practices at the site prior to the collapse. A month before, an anonymous report had been made to the city's 311 hotline about the lack of safety gear at the demolition site and about concerns that pedestrians could be hit by falling debris or a collapse. City officials had sent a building inspector to the site, but found no violations.
Chicago Magnet Wire Corp.
42 employees were exposed to various hazardous substances during the coating of wire. Workers suffered headaches, hacking coughs, skin rashes, ulcers, kidney and lung failure, impotence, memory loss and deep depression. Defendants exposed employees to numerous federally regulated substances in the workplace; failed to provide necessary safety instructions and equipment and health monitoring systems; provided inadequate ventilation and maintained dangerously overheated working conditions.
City Metro Corp.
Defendants stole more than $241,000 from more than 45 construction workers tasked with performing a concrete installation project at a hotel being built in Midtown Manhattan. Between June 2015 and April 2017, a number of workers were only paid part of their wages or not paid at all. The defendants diverted portions of the monies that should have been used to pay the workers.
Countryside Tree Care
CRV Precast Construction LLC
In 2016, CRV was hired as a subcontractor on a federally-funded project involving a removation of Draper Hall. CRV was contracted to erect a steel framework. According to the indictment and documents filed in court, CRV and multiple individuals who operated the company misclassified workers as concrete laboreres instead of ironworkers so they could pay them less than the prevailing wage rate. As a result, the defendants stole approximately $40,000 from at least four workers. The defendants also filed false payroll information with NYSIF in order to lower the company's workers' compensation insurance premiums. Underreporting for 2015-2016 resulted in underypayment of approximately $380,000 for the insurance coverage received. In addition, by misclassifying the workers, CRV fraudulently lowered the company's premium for the insurance year 2016-2017. In total, CRV underpaid NYSIF by approximately $410,000 by underreporting payroll and misclassifying workers. In one instance, the defendants provided NYSIF with false information about an ironworker, Elizandro Ramos, who died at a CRV job site in Queens. In a payroll summary, the victim was falsely listed as a concrete laborer, even though he was performing iron work for CRV at the time of his death.
Daniel Beckwitt, a millionaire day trader, feared a possible missile attack from North Korea, so he hired Askia Khafra in 2017 to help him dig a network of tunnels 20 feet deep and spanning roughly 200 feet in three directions under his property in Bethesda, Maryland. An electrical fire broke out in Beckwitt's basement while Khafra was working inside. Khafra tried to escape but was trapped by hoarding-like conditions inside the basement. Khafra died of smoke inhalation and burns. Beckwitt initially met Khafra online and invested money in a start-up project. To hide the location of his home from Khafra, Beckwitt would pick Khafra up from his home, have him wear black out glasses, and drive him around for an hour before taking him to the house in Bethesda. He also told Khafra the property was located in rural Virginia.
Deitsch Textile Corp.
A fire erupted in a six story warehouse operated by Deitsch Textile Corp. that killed one and injured 19 others. On the day of the fire, a shipment of elastic material was delivered to the warehouse. The material was loaded onto the freight elevator by Logan, together with coworkers Gerald Williams and Raymond Stanley. The foreman, Baruch Scher, directed Stanley and Logan to take the material up to the sixth floor and begin storing it on that floor. Shortly thereafter, one of the Deitsch brothers began yelling 'fire' to employees on the first floor and everyone on that floor evacuated. When Stanley and Logan learned of the fire, they went to a sixth floor window to get some air. Scher yelled for them to go to the roof, but they went to the fifth floor in the interior staircase and stayed at that location because the smoke prevented them from seeing down the staircase or going any further. They were unable to open a window on the fifth floor so Stanley broke it with his hands, cutting himself. Two firemen ascended a ladder and pulled Staney out of the window. Logan, however, was stuck in the steel window frame and was unconscious; he had no pulse. After 5-10 minutes, the firemen freed Logan from the frame and pulled him out. CPR was applied but Logan did not respond. He was taken to a hospital but nothing could be done for him. Over 100 firemen were required to bring the fire, which burned for several days, under control. The investigation found that bales of cloth were blocking access to fire escapes. Employees had received no instructions about what to do in the event of a fire. The fire marshal that inspected after the incident said he could recall only one sign about what to do in the case of a fire. There were no lighted exit signs on the premises, and the fifth and sixth floors contained no overhead lights. Fireproof self-closing doors had been propped open and rendered inoperable. The door to the outside at the bottom of the stairway had been chained and locked from the outside. The fire marshal was unable to ascertain the cause of the fire, but concluded that the open shafts, stairwells, and elevator doors immensely aided the acceleration and spread of the fire. No inspection of the warehouse had occurred prior to the fire because the fire department listed the warehouse as vacant. The warehouse was equipped with a standpipe system but it had deteriorated to a state of uselessness; Zalman Deitsch and the corporation had been notified by the fire department in 1976 and 1978 that the system had to be put into operating condition.
A worker accidentally cut a hole in a pipeline, causing a cloud of green poisonous gas to spew out of the plant where it was carried by wind to nearby Tweedy Elementary School. Teachers and students were evacuated but some were hospitalized. The leak lasted for eight minutes before an employee turned off the valve. The pipeline, which was in the process of being dismantled as part of a modernization project, carried chlorine from a railroad tank car to a bleach-making vat. Approximately 80 people were injured, 24 teachers, 23 students of Tweedy Elementary School, and 22 people from Dial Corp.
Spencer Lunde, 16, died while working at a construction site, when an unsecured trench collapsed on him. Another adult male working at the site was injured. The incident occured at the site of a small housing development under construction on Solitaire Lane in Fairfax County, VA. The trench Lunde was working in was sloped 90 degrees straight down. Lunde and the adult male had to be extricated from the collapsed trench. Lunde was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Margarita Mojica, a pregnant female employee, was crushed and killed while working on a cardboard cutting and folding machine. Employees were not properly trained and there were not Lockout/Tagout procedures in place for turning the machine off before reaching inside of it. The company had been fined twice on previous occassions for neglecting to institute an adequate worker safety program.
Powell and Hodgson were killed when they fell 80 feet from a crane. Mark Robert Powell (superintendent and father of Marcus Powell, deceased), was using a crane to hoist the two deceased workers into the air to inspect and repair a broken cable on another crane. According to Cal/OSHA, the rigging on their crane-hoisted platform failed. Cal/OSHA inspectors said the supervisors failed to inspect the crane and personnel lifting equipment and said this was the root cause of the incident.
Domermuth Petroleum Equipment
Keator was killed when petroleum vapors exploded while he was cleaning a tank trailer. The spark that led to the explosion was produced when an unprotected bulb from a trouble light hanging near the tank's opening was struck by a stream of water from a high pressure washer Kator was using to clean the tank. The tank had not been properly ventilated to release the flammable vapors.
Ebasco Services Inc.
Ebasco Services had been hired by Consolidated Edison Co. of NY, a public utility, to perform certain management, construction, and engineering functions in connection with a project to extend the utility's Astoria Queens Generating Station. Part of this involved constructing a temporary metal boxlike structure called a cofferdam, which allows for waters to be pumped out and workers to descend to the river bottom to construct certain permanent facilities for the project. Construction of the coffedram was undertaken by a company called Spearin, Preston & Burrows Inc. and the fieldwork was under supervision of George Reider, an executive Vice President of Spearin. A portion of the cofferdam collapsed, causing the dewatered area to fill with water in less than a minute, drowning the two workers.
EEC Group Tech Inc.
Defendants stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their employees by underpaying them for work performed at a construction project in Brooklyn.
Environmental Enterprises Inc.
Henzerling was fatally injured after a few weeks on the job when a fire broke out while he was treating hazardous waste. He incurred burns and later died. Another worker was also badly burned. A manager for the company, Gerald Nocks, falsified training records to make it appear that employees had received training that they had not received. Just ten days prior to the incident, the company was cited by Fed-OSHA for 9 safety violations.
Far West Water & Sewer Inc.
Gamble and Lanser died from acute hydrogen sulfide gas poisoning while working in an underground sewage tank. They lost consciousness because of the exposure and drowned in the sewage. Connie Charles directed Gamble to enter the tank and unplug the gravity line once it filled up halfway with sewage because she was concerned the lift station was overflowing. Garrett attempted to rescue Gamble from the tank, tying a rope around his waist and having another person, Andrew, hold it while he climbed inside using a ladder. He could not get Gamble out and instead he passed out while trying to exit the tank. Garrett suffered severe injuries, including life-threatening respiratory distress syndrome, aspiration pneumonia, and injuries to his lungs and eyes. Lanser then climbed into the tank to rescue Gamble and Garrett and he too passed out, falling into the tank. Charles was informed of the incident and entered the tank to rescue the others, and she too passed out, but eventually regained consciousness. Far West lacked critical safety equipment required for permit-required confined space entry; did not use or require air monitoring or blower equipment; lacked coordination and planning with Santec; made no attempt to identify rescue services; and lacked rescue equipment; never executed a permit for entry into confined space and had no written permit space program; and did not provide employees with training about the hazards and how to safely enter tanks. Approximately six months before the incident, an OSHA consultant and expert told Weidman and Noll that far West had to implement permit space procedures and training and specified the necessary safety equipment it was required to obtain, but Far West did not do any of it.
Federal OSHA citations asserted Federated Weiner Metals failed to: provide medical examinations to five employees with excessively high lead blood levels, despite the recommendations of a company physician; told a physician examining employees at the plant that the level of lead there did not exceed federal exposure limits when, in fact, it was 30 times higher; failed to remove four employees with high levels of lead in their blood from work in areas of high exposure; and failed to put proper safety guards on equipment. (Date below is approximate.)
Film Allman LLC
Sarah Jones, a camera assistant, was killed and 8 others were injured trying to escape from an oncoming freight train during the filming of 'Midnight Rider.' The film director, Randall Miller, had ordered the crew to set up on the active railway, even though CSX had refused him permission to film there.
Film Recovery Systems Inc.
Stephen Golab, an undocumented worker from Poland, died from cyanide exposure at the Film Recovery and Metallic Marketing facility in Elk Grove where he worked. Golab disconnected a pump on one of the tanks and began to stir the contents of the tank with a rake when he became dizzy and faint. Co-workers observed Golab trembling and foaming at the mouth. He left the production area to take a break in the lunchroom area of the plant. Thereafter, he lost consciousness and was taken out of the plant. Paramedics were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital. Between March 1982 and March 1983, 20 other Film Recovery employees were exposed to the same dangers. Workers, including Golab, were never informed that they were working with cyanide or that the compound put into the vats could be harmful if inhaled. Workers weren't trained on the hazard or given proper safety equipment. As a result, workers sometimes got the substance on their clothing and skin, causing burns. Officers of the company did not provide storage, detoxification, and disposition of cyanide and other substances containing cyanide. Ventilation in the plant was poor, although ceiling fans were present above the vats. Breathing in the plant was difficult. Workers experienced dizziness, nauseau, headaches, and bouts of vomiting.
First Interstate Bank
A maintenance engineer, Alexander John Handy, was killed in a fire at the First Interstate Bank Building while in an elevator. 40 others, workers and firemen, were injured in the blaze. Security personnel had sent Handy to the 12th floor, where the fire broke out, to investigate. He was given a special fire key to activate a switch inside the elevator. The elevator became stuck with the doors open and he burned to death. The fire investigation also found that seven minutes elapsed between the first alarm and the time fire officials received their initial report of the fire becasue security personnel had turned off the smoke alarms, in violation of fire regulations, under the belief they were false. City officials said after the fire that a fire door on the 12th floor had been propped open by bags of trash, in violation of safety codes.
Five Star Plastering
Pohl and Shetley were hanging up a banner at the Mission Viejo High School football stadium when they were eletrocuted. Thomas Blythe, the company's President and the Vice President of the school's booster club, was on site and had directed the two employees to hang the banner. Pohl was standing on scaffolding with electrical lines two feet overhead when he was electrocuted by the 12,000 volt line; he died instantly. Shetley climbed up to assist Pohl, which resulted in him being electrocuted also. He was thrown from the scaffolding and sustained serious injuries for which he spent two weeks in the hospital. Neither Pohl nor Shetley were trained. Both employees had only worked for the company for about three weeks. Timothy Gordon, the safety manager, is alleged to have failed to inspect the site for safety hazards before the scaffolding was erected, and John Alberts, the crew supervisor, is alleged to have failed to check the clearance between the scaffold and high voltage line (which is supposed to be six feet per Cal/OSHA regulations).
Florin White Dove Care Homes
According to the criminal complaint (available in the Google Drive folder accessible below), Florinda Yambao, owner of Florin White Dove Care Homes, committed a series of criminal offenses and other offenses at various times between January 1, 2007 and September 15, 2014. Yambao was indicted for the commission of wage theft offenses under the criminal code and labor code, for unlawfully failing to make contributions due under the California Unemployment Insurance Code, for failing to file tax returns with the intent to evade tax imposed by the California Unemployment Insurance Code; for failing to account and pay taxes required to be withheld by the California Unemployment Insurance Code; and for failing to secure worker's compensation insurance.
Pavia and Paci were installing a sewer pipe inside a 12-15 ft deep trench when it collapsed and they were killed. Kenneth Formica, a partner in Formica Construction Corp. and a licensed contractor with 30 years of experience, was supervising the work. Formica ignored regulations on shoring trenches and directed the two workers to work inside the trench without it being properly shored. On March 4, 2003, a few months prior ot the incident, NYC Department of Transportation Highway inspectors found violations at another Formica worksite that Kenneth Formica was also supervising. The inspector had ordered a worker out of an unshored trench and ordered Formica to shore it up. During OSHA's investigation, Formica admitted that he had made a mistake by leaving the trench unshored and was at a loss to why he did that. He testified before the grand jury that he was aware of the 5 feet rule.
Delfino died from asphyxiation when he was crushed by a concrete ceiling that collapsed on him during demolition of a Ford auto dealership. The work permits for construction of the dealership had expired. In 2013, the NY Buildings Department had issued two violations to Formica at this site.
Marich and Vasquez were crushed and killed while the company owner, Meng Peng, was unloading slabs of granite from a shipping container. Peng was operating a forklift to remove the bundles of granite slabs from the container. While unloading the last load of the day, the slabs tipped over and landed on the two men. Peng failed to assess the hazards of moving slabs and did not properly train the employees. Cal/OSHA had previously cited the company for four serious violations amounting to over $63,000 in penalties, but the civil case was put on hold pending the conclusion of the criminal charges.
General Dynamics Land Systems Inc.
Good View Roofing and Building Supply Corp.
Grand Rapids Plastics
Granite Construction Co.
GTE Production Corp.
Unavailable. (Date below is approximate.)
Harco Construction/Sky Materials
Carlos Moncayo died when an unsecured trench in which he was working collapsed and crushed him. Sky Materials Corp. and Harco Construction LLC managed and oversaw construction at the worksite and Cueva and Prestia were responsible for workers safety and observing basic safety precautions at the site. Domani Inspection Services, Inc., was hired to inspect the site and during a February 2015 inspection, found that the trenches were not secured. Despite meetings with defendants and repeated email warnings about the issues, no improvements were made over the next several months. On April 6, 2015, a different Domani inspector went out to the site and immediately noticed an unsecured trench approximately 7 feet deep. He rushed to alert Prestia who was inside a trailer out of sight of the trench. Cueva was on site supervising excavation work. The inspector warned both Prestia and Cueva that workers shouldn't be allowed in the trench with unfortified sides two times. Prestia did not ask workers to get out of the trench until 2 hours after the first warning, but most did not understand because he told them in English. The inspector approached a Sky employee about the conditions and the employee spoke to Cueva who told the crew in Spanish to stop working in the trench. Moments later, the trench collapsed and killed Moncayo.
H&L Tree Service
While trimming a 60 foot palm tree, Esquer attempted to remove a wet frond from an electrical conductor. A supervisor was present but took no action. Employees were not trained on the dangers of touching items fallen on high voltage wires. (Date below is approximate.)
Imperial Food Products
Workers' fingers amputated on a punch press. (Date below is approximate.)
Hatherill, a cable television splicer, died of carbon monoxide exposure while working in a company owned truck (a Chevrolet Step Van). The truck's undercarriage and exhaust system was in poor condition and exhaust fumes leaked into the truck. An inspection of the truck by industrial hygeniest Rudolph Zoller following the incident revealed that carbon monoxide levels inside the truck after 20 minutes exceeded 3,000 parts per million (ppm), in violation of the OSHA and MIOSHA PEL of 50 ppm. Sargeant Charles Culton of the Michigan State Police said that many of the violations would have been obvious to a layperson. The company had no regular maintenance program for its trucks.
James Chung Lee
An unshored brick wall collapsed, killing one and injuring one.
James Coon Construction
J.A. Morrin Concrete Construction Co.
Sorge died when he was electrocuted by a dump truck that came into contact with overhead power lines. Despite repeated warnings that the electric line needed to be relocated, the company took no action to do so. The foreman continued to instruct drivers to dump beneath the electrical line. James Morrin Jr. directed Sorge to dump the load under the electrical power line. The company had contacted the electric company who informed him the line must be relocated, which would cost about $4,000, and provided the company with the forms to request relocation. On August 9, 2000, the electrical utility inspector and local village building inspector warned James Morrin, Jr. that work should stop until the lines were relocated. Mr. Morrin's brother, Jeff Morrin, had also been notified of the warning. On August 11, Morrin was warned by officials again. Sorge was killed later that day after Morrin directly instructed him to raise the bed of his gravel truck under the power lines.
J&D Painting Contractors Corp.
Defendants stole approximately $39,000 from 6 workers. In addition to failing to pay workers properly, the defendants also failed to contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund during the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2016.
J&M Metro General Contracting
At approximately 11:00 am, 3 employees were smoothing concrete along the edge of a building, outside of a wire cable protective fence, without harnesses or any fall protection. The owner of J&M Metrotech Development Corp., Salvatore Schirripa, saw that the wire cable fence installed by the steel subcontractor, J&M Metro General Contracting Corp., was set in several feet from the edge, leaving an unprotected work surface between the fence and the edge. Schirripa knew that his workers would have to step outside the protective fence to install wire mesh prior to the concrete pour and to smooth the concrete once poured. Yet Schirripa did not provide harnesses or other fall protection to his employees. While walking backwards, using a rake-like instrument to smooth the concrete in front of him, Vidal Sanchez-Ramon, reached the edge and fell six floors to his death. On four different occassions prior to the incident, NYC Department of Buildings inspectors had served Metrotech Development Corp., and its owner, Salvatore Schirripa, at three different worksites, with Notices of Violations, ordering them to immediately provide guardrail systems and handrails to protect workers from falls. After hearings on 3 of the Notices, the Environmental Control Board issued decisions reaffirming the obligations. Also, at a worksite in Brooklyn, OSHA safety complaince officers had ordered the company and owner to provide fall protection to their employees in compliance with OSHA regulations. Schirripa also failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or to contribute to an unemployment insurance fund for employees, going so far as to submit a false certificate of coverage to the NYC Department of Buildings.
Kehran Construction Inc.
Four individuals died in a trench collapse. We are currently unable to locate additional details about this incident. (Date below is approximate.)
During the installation of a water-district main for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, a backhoe operator with Mountain Cascade punctured a high-pressure pipeline owned by Kinder Morgan. The puncture caused an explosion, killing five workers and seriously injuring four others. Cal/OSHA found that Kinder Morgan had failed to mark a bend in the Walnut Creek line. In addition to Cal/OSHA fines, the state fire marshal fined Kinder Morgan.
At 8:50 a.m., Jose Lopez Lopez was spooling drip tape, twine, and hose material from a row of berries with a plastic tarp roller, attached hydraulically to the back end of a tractor. Jose's foot was caught in the materials being spooled and was pulled in against the spool. The material continued to wrap for several revolutions around the spool and Jose's head and torso struck against the ground. He became wedged between the spool rim and the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Whiteye, a pipe layer, died while working on a sanitary sewer project. He and his crew were laying concrete truss pipe in a 50 feet long by 15-20 feet deep trench. Whiteye was working in a trench box that was only 4 feet wide, but it should have been 8 feet wide. A Vice President of the company, Angelo D'Allesandro, had directed the use of a 4 feet wide trench box to save time. He had to leave the trench box when he encountered a natural gas line. While he was working to connect pipe to a manhole near the gas line, the trench collapsed around the manhole and Whiteye was partially buried and died. It was raining the day of the incident, and although excavation work is more dangerous in wet conditions, Bret Bertollini, the foreman supervising the work, did not stop the work on account of the rain. Whiteye and another employee had suggested to Bertollini that he stop the work, but they were ignored. Mark Klimbal, a field superintendent, chose not to provide safety instruction, advice, or training to Whiteye and his crew when they were hired. In 2005, barred from receiving state contracts until 2013 under a 2003 Granholm Executive Order.
Maco Concrete Inc.
Maggio Drilling Inc.
Employee suffocated when he became trapped in a 33 feet deep elevator shaft. Evidence showed that he was not wearing a safety harness. The company failed to shore the trench, provide a safety harness, and monitor the air in the elevator shaft. By the time the employee was rescued and taken to the hospital, he could not be resuscitated. (Date below is approximate.)
Magnetic Contracting Corp.
Defendants stole more than $90,000 from at least six workers.
Midland Environmental Services
Rennenberg was killed and three others were injured when an underground storage tank exploded when it was being cut with a gasoline powered cutoff saw equipped with an abrasive wheel. The company owner, Woods, was present at the worksite at the time, and was also injured in the explosion. Woods was supervising the crew on the day of the incident and knew they were using the wrong cutting device on the tank. The company had written safety practices and procedures for proper cutting of tanks, but had not trained employees. The company also lacked air sampling equipment at the job site on the day of the incident.
MSR Electrical Construction Company
Between December 2012 and December 2015, defendants were granted more than a dozen public works contracts from three government agencies, including the New York City School Construction Authority, which contracted the defendants to complete electrical work at multiple public schools in Brooklyn; the New York State Office of General Services, which contracted the defendants to perform work at a psychiatric center in Queens; and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which contracted the defendants to perform services at five MTA locations in Manhattan and Queens. The defendants stole more than $700,000 from workers by failing to pay prevailing wages on these public works projects.
National Insulation & GC Corp.
Defendants failed to pay at least six employees more than $13,000 in wages.
NY Cranes & Equipment
Two construction workers killed in crane collapse. The company's owner, James Lomma, had relied on an unqualified Chinese company called RTR Bearings to make repairs to the crane because RTR offered a low price ($20,000) and quick turnaround. A bid from Avon Bearings in Ohio quoted $120,127 for the same work. Ten months prior to the accident, RTR warned NY Cranes that they doubted they could capably perform the welds required to fix the machinery.
Panda Development / G.A.L. Concrete
Worker killed from asphyxia by compression in unshored excavation. Soils report was inadequate because it failed to recommend a vertical cut.
Pangborn Plumbing Corp.
Park Family Farm
According to the indictment, between 2014 and 2017, Parkside Construction, its owners, and its constituent companies, which included Parkside Construction Builders Corp., Parkside Construction Contractors Inc., and GS&F Enterprises LLC, stole more than $1.7 million from at least 520 workers through a wage theft scheme with the assistance of Affinity Human Resources, LLC, a professional employer organization, and its owner. Affinity provided Parkside Construction with human resources services such as payroll, employee benefits, and workers' compensation management. During this period, Parkside Construction had contracts with multiple builders and developers to perform concrete installation and masonry work on several high-rise buildings in Manhattan. Parkside Construction used computerized face-recognition machines at worksites to record workers' hours. However, as part of the wage theft scheme, printouts from the on-site time-keeping machines were later altered and updated with lower weekly hours than those actually worked. The falsified timesheets were then submitted to Affinity for processing. Parkside Construction and its principles directed Michael Dimaggio, an outside consultant, and Jerry Hamling, the owner of Affinity, to pay some workers' wages with 'expense reimbursement' checks to hide the fact that the payments were compensation, thereby avoiding making withholding taxes and unemployment insurance contributions. The indictment also alleges that from March 2014 and October 2017, Parkside Construction, its owners, and senior employees also hid more than $40 million in payroll from the NY State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) to maintain workers' compensation coverage at fraudulenty low premiums. Affinity and Hamling helped conceal payroll information by falsely informing NYSIF that operations had been restructured, all workers' employment had been terminated, and all direct labor involving construction had been subcontracted out to other vendors. These claims were reiterated by Parkside Construction's owner, Francesco Pugliese, and accountant Michael Dimaggio, who falsely certified that partial records pertaining the company's payroll were complete and accurate. Based on numerous false statements and submissions, the defendants failed to report more than $42 million in payroll, thereby evading more than $7.8 million in insurance premiums.
Peabody Southwest Inc.
An employee died in trench collapse. We have been unable to find additional details about this incident.
Purvis Home Improvement
Alan Loignon died when he fell from the third-story roof of a home on which he was working. The owner of Purvis Home Improvement, Shawn D. Purvis, did not provide fall protection to employees. Shawn Purvis is the half-brother of Alan Loignon. Purvis has a history of OSHA violations related to fall protection. He has refused to pay some past OSHA fines because he argues he is not an employer and the workers are subcontractors, and therefore, he cannot force them to wear safety gear.
Rodriquez suffered medical harm from mercury poisoning in the form of permanent brain damage from exposure in excess of the allowable limit due to working in an unventilated basement of a thermometer manufacturing facility, specifically from feeding broken thermometers into a glass crushing machine as part of the off-book mercury reclamation operation. Pymm Thermometer and Pak Glass Machinery operated out of the same building, with Pymm occupying the second floor and Pak the first floor. Pymm was primarily manufacturing thermometers, but was also involved with reclaiming mercury from broken thermometers. The operation was in the cellar of the building, which could only be accessed from a separate door outside the building, not the main entrance. Pak Glass manufactured, services, and repaired the machinery used by Pymm. In January 1981, workers complained to OSHA about conditions at the facility. State and OSHA inspectors found the workplace contaminated with mercury and found that workers were not provided protective masks. OSHA issued serious violations and assessed a $1400 fine. In 1984, the NY City Health Department was informed by a local doctor that he had found elevated mercury levels in a worker at the facility. The Health Department conducted an inspection and testing, and found similar results. In October 1985, a worker tipped off OSHA about operations in the basement, which turned out to be a dangerous, off-book mercury reclamation operation that began in 1983. After being tipped off, mercury levels in excess of five times those permitted by OSHA were measured. Rodriguez was not initally given a respirator, and when he was, he was to share a single respirator with another employee.
Pyro Products Inc.
Three employees were killed in an explosion at the fireworks manufacturing plant where they worked. In the building where they were working, fireworks were primarily being dried, but the building was also being used to wrap fireworks and add the lifting charge that gives them force to rise up and be detonated, and being used as storage for approximately 4,000-5,000 uncompleted fireworks. On occasions prior to the explosion, employees had warned Godin that the large quantities of uncomplete fireworks being stored was possibly dangerous and was limiting the ability of employees to move about and work. The explosion injured several employees and killed three, whose bodies were found outside of the building. The manufacturing compound was almost completely devastated.
An employee plugged a fan into an electrical outlet, generating sparks which caused a fire and explosion that killed another plant employee, Dennis Whitt, and injured several other people. Cornellier had knowledge of substantial fire and explosion hazards at the plant, many of them in violation of OSHA requirements, and he failed to take any steps to correct them or safeguard employees from the known dangers. Cornellier was aware that the company was engaged in manufacturing fireworks without a permit in a structure that did not meet state and local safety requirements, and that, as a result, the manufacturing operations were 'illegal.' Sometime before the explosion, Cornellier was advised by a business associate of safety concerns at the plant. Less than three weeks before the fatal fire and explosion, Cornellier was convicted of six violations of safety ordinances in connection with the manufacture of fireworks at a nearby Milton plant--including storing more than 500 pounds of explosives in a building and manufacturing fireworks in an open frame structure.
Andre was crushed in a recoil roller when his glove was caught while he was feeding cardboard into a slitting machine. Andre was operating the machine unattended on his first day of work with four hours of training, even though the manual specified 30 days of training for new employees. Indeed, Reliance's own insurance company had recommended greater safety training.
Richard Knutson Inc.
RSBY NY Builders
Fernando Vanegaz was killed and two other workers were injured when a wall collapsed on them. According to news reports, Michael Weiss, owner of RSBY NY Builders and another company called Park Ave Builders, had hired seven workers with little to no training to demolish a store on Myrtle Avenue. The workers were performing excavation work around an existing cellar and warned Weiss of safety concerns due to the instability of the adjacent walls. They had requested materials necessary to shore up a wall, but Weiss ignored them. The wall collapsed on the three workers, causing Vanegaz to suffer severe injuries from which he died at the scene, including head trauma, head lacerations, broken legs, and cardiac arrest. A second worker suffered a fracture of the lumbar vertebra, a fractured hip and injury to his spine. He has undergone multiple surgeries and continues to have difficulty walking or engaging in physical activity. A third worker also suffered a lumbar vertebra fracture, a fractured nose and skull and orbital area, a crushed face and scalp, a fractured rib and other facial bone fractures. Weiss also allegedly paid another construction company $10,000 to obtain permits from the Department of Buildings because Weiss did not have the proper licenses needed for concrete and demolition work.
Two construction workers were killed when the 27 feet deep trench they were working in collapsed.
A Brooklyn, New York, contracting company that has done extensive work for the New York City Housing Authority, often on no-bid contracts, admitted to committing fraud. In a plea agreement, the owners, a married couple, acknowledged that they had for years filed false "certified payrolls" with the Housing Authority. In one instance, they had represented that they had performed a variety of contracting tasks under a Housing Authority contract and paid themselves the prevailing wage of $41.75/hour, when in fact they had not performed the work themselves, but rather hired day laborers that they paid at a considerably lower rate. The cheating dated to 2014. (The date below is approximate.)
S. A. Healy
Methane gas was detected in a 40 feet deep tunnel that was under construction. The mining machine was automatically shut down, and all the employees were evacuated. Ten minutes later, three employees entered the area to determine if the atmosphere in the tunnel was safe for reentry. An explosive mixture of methane gas had developed in the air. Apparently, the grout pump ignited the gas and caused an explosion. The three employees were badly burned, and they died of asphyxiation due to overexposure to carbon monoxide. The Sewage Commissions had warned all contractors about the possibliity of a methane leak and contractors were told if methane was detected all work must cease for one hour.
Shoreline Support Corp.
Dale Slabik, a bulldozer-loader operator, died after approximately one week on the job, while working on erosion control at a Lake Michigan beach, pushing piles of earth, brick, and other rubbish that had been brought to the site over an embankment. Slabik was picking up large concrete chunks from a stockpile at another location and dropping them from a height of 65 feet above the lake surface. There was no berm on the embankment edge, nor was there any warning or other means of restraint in the dumping area. The position of the bulldozer-loader in the lake indicated that it went over the enbankment backward and Slabik was killed. The vehicle was equipped with a rollover protective structure and a seat belt, but the seat belt was found tucked under the seat and the rollover protective structure was torn off. According to the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, Slabik was dating the daughter of one of Shoreline's shareholders, Anton J. Matuszczak, at the time of his death. Matuszczak had known Slabik since 1983. Matuszczak knew that Slabik suffered from epilepsy. Slabik began working for Matuszczak on June 6, 1986, just after Slabik graduated high school. Shoreline did not investigate Slabik's epilepsy to determine if it would impair his ability to safely operate and control large machinery. Shoreline also failed to provide Slabik with the significant training and supervision necessary to perform the tasks required of him.
Southern California Gas Co.
Employee electrocuted when he struck a city cable while digging a pipeline for a new apartment building.
Tamco Construction Corp.
One worker was killed and four others were hospitalized with concussions when a building collapsed on the Upper East Side during construction of an additional floor and restaurant. OSHA's inspection found that twelve inch cinderblocks were being hoisted from the ground and stacked on the fifth floor. Three employees were on the second floor working. The front 8 feet of the fifth floor then collapsed and continued down through all the floors to the basement. Up to 100 blocks fell with the collapse. NY Times reported that this was Tamco's first commercial job and that prosecutors contended that Mr. Tam and Mr. Ai knew the structure was insecure and had ignored warnings by experienced people at the site.
The Urban Group
Between 2014 and 2015, The Urban Group's owner, Gewan 'Ken' Bharatlall, had six non-union workers perform construction related tasks such as demolition, masonry, carpentry, painting, and caulking. The company was awarded contracts to perform work on schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The defendants owner falsely certified that the defendant had paid the employees the required prevailing wages and overtime, but the defendant had paid the six employeses between $10 and $17 per hour without overtime compensation or benefits, instead of the mason tender rate of $62 to $63 per hour, totalling underpayment of wages of roughly $232,092.98. Additionally, the defendant hired 15 non-union day laborers in 2015 to perform construction-related work at various SCA job sites. Although the workers were performing construction-related tasks at the schools, they were only paid the standard rate of $31 to $38 per hour instead of the trade rate of $64 to $72 per hour, totalling underpayment of wages of roughly $71,317.99.
Juan Baten, a 22-year-old Guatemalan immigrant worker at the factory, died after falling into a mixing machine used to mix tortilla dough. Investigations into the working conditions at the factory in response to the fatality uncovered additional violations. The New York State Workers Compensation Board found that the factory owner had more than five employees between March 28, 2008 and January 24, 2011, and yet failed to have workers' compensation insurance required by law. Additional investigation revealed that the employer paid his employees in cash and did not report all of his employees on his company's New York State tax filings for the purpose of paying unemployment insurance contributions. During the six-year period from 2006 to 2011, the employer had not paid 28 employees legally required overtime wages.
Triangle Shirtwaist Company
One hundred forty-six workers were killed in a 1911 fire at a New York City garment factory because the doors were locked to prevent petty theft. People who did not jump from the building died from smoke inhalation, burns, or being trampled in the escape. The defendants fastened, locked, and bolted a door in the factory that led to a hallway in the building that exited to a public street. When the fire broke out, workers tried to exit through the door, but were trapped. The company also allowed inflammable and combustible materials to accumulate in the factory.
5 immigrant workers killed, and 4 other workers seriously injured in scaffolding collapse. The scaffolding was 130 ft high and designed and built by the owner, Phillip Minucci. Minucci ignored city building codes that required any scaffolding over 75 ft high to be designed and built by a licensed architect and engineer.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
During the last day of filming 'Twilight Zone: The Movie,' explosions on set caused the pilot of a helicopter to lose control, crashing into Vic and the two children. All three were killed instantly. The children had been hired illegally, did not have the necessary permits, and did not have a licensed teacher-welfare worker.
While working in Harran's lab, when Sangji was attempting to transfer a reagent, the plunger of the syringe became dislodged from the syringe barrel, causing the reagent to be released. The reagent spilled onto her torso and hands and immediately caught fire. The fire was eventually extinguished by another researcher working nearby. The Victim sustained second and third degree burns over approximately 43 percent of her body. Sangji died eighteen days later.
U.S. Sino Investment
Mercado, a day laborer, died when a 12 feet deep unshored trench collapsed on him. The CEO, Richard Liu, left for China, leaving his assistant and Project Manager, Dan Luo, in charge of the project during his absence. On January 25, a city building inspector issued a stop work order after seeing the trench was not shored, and instructed Luo to consult with a soil engineer. The stop work order required that a soil engineer review the site and determine whether any action was needed, and to provide recommendations for shoring. The next day, a city inspector visited the site and said crews were on site, but not working. However, workers were back on the job the day of the incident. It took several days for rescuers to recover the body. Cal/OSHA found that the company did not have state permits for excavations 5 feet or deeper, or proper reinforcements in the trench that collapsed. The Contractors State License Board suspended the general building contractor license of US-Sino Investment, Inc. in February 2012 for failure to comply with state workers compensation insurance laws.
Jose Plancarte died after falling 18.5 feet from scaffolding onto a concrete basement floor below. He was not wearing any fall protection. The scaffolding did not have guardrails; rather, Plancarte had built a nailed bracket scaffold and used two scaffold planks to access a window. Cal/OSHA determined that the construction company had failed to provide fall training to its workers at the site. Also, the foreman was aware that Plancarte had built the prohibited scaffolding, which violated the employer's own safety program.
A building collapsed and injured 11 people, including 1 day laborer, and forced more than 100 people from nearby buildings to evacaute, and disrupted subway service. The owners were building a restaurant on the ground floor when the southeastern wall of the building collapsed. Walter Blum, a licensed architect, was the architect for the project and certified that no structural changes were being made in paperwork that he had sent to the Department of Buildings. In trying to create a better view from the restaurant, the Blums' planned to remove brickwork from archways and make other structural changes to the building. Without proper city permits, the Blums' began renovations in April 2000. After neighbors complained, a building inspector issued a stop work order on May 3 and an unpaid $2,500 fine. The renovations continued, and just before the collapse, workers were removing and replacing bricks through the distressed southeastern wall. When the wall collapsed, the second and third floors of the building collapsed onto the first floor.
Warner Lambert Co.
Six workers were killed and at least 50 other workers were injured in an explosion and fire at the chewing-gum manufacturing plant where they were employed. A small explosion believed to be caused by the liquid nitrogen's liquefaction of oxygen set off another explosion of dust surrounding the machinery that was composed primarily of magnesium stearate. In 1975, prior to the explosion, the company's insurance inspector noticed a lot of magnesium stearate dust in the factory and required the company install an effective exhaust system and better insulate electrical connections to prevent an explosion. Although the company made some minor changes, it did not stop production or make safety improvements. Federal OSHA had inspected the facility several months before the incident but only conducted a record review, which found that records were not properly maintained. OSHA did not inspect the plant.
Safety violations at a metal forging plant caused third degree burns to workers. (Date below is approximate.)
Westar Mechanical Inc.
Two workers, Martin Grenzhauser, a 5L employee, and Ed Reiley, a Westar employee, were killed while installing water and sewer lines. Westar had been hired to install a water and sewer line in the City of Middletown. Reagan hired a subcontractor, 5L Enterprises, to perform excavation work in connection with the installation. As workers from Westar and 5L were excavating the ditch, they unexpectedly encountered a water pipe. When informed of it, Reagan immediately ordered the work to stop. He then conferred, on location, with Richard Brannan, the plumbing inspector for the City, as to the best way to proceed. The plumbing inspector, acting on behalf of the city, did not stop the excavation, nor did he direct or require that the pipe be supported or the trench be shored, or that the water be shut off. On the contrary, the conference with Brannan at the scene resulted in Reagan telling the men to continue working, but avoid getting too close to the pipe. Afterward, when hand-digging the trench around the pipe, the trench collapsed and ruptured the water pipe. Despite efforts to save the two workers, the water level rose for approximately one-half hour and the two workers drowned.
Western Specialty Contractors
In 2016, Blumenfeld Development Group, the owner of the Gotham Residential Projected, hired ZDG, LLC, as the construction manager to build an eleven-story mixed used building. ZDG hired subconctractor Western Waterproofing Co. to install the building's facade. On June 15, 2018, Timothy Braico ordered a mini crane to be delivered to the worksite even though none of the workers were trained to operate it and without obtaining the requisite NY City Department of Building's approved engineer's plans to ensure its safe use. Then on June 25, 2018, Terrence Edwards, the site superintendent, directed an ironworker to use the mini crane on the fourth floor to hoist glass panels up from the second floor. The operator had not been trained to use the mini crane, did not understand the crane's load capacity, and was not told to tether the mini crane, in violation of DOB regulations. Edwards directed ironworkers Christopher Jackson and Jorge Delgado to work from the floor below the crane, guiding the panels into place as the crane operator hoisted them up. As the crane lifted a heavy glass panel, it lurched forward and capsized before falling to the ground. As it fell, the crane's boom reached into the third floor, where it knocked into Christopher Jackson, broke his harness, and catapulted him to the ground. Jackson suffered severe trauma to his head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury which as affected his ability to speak and to walk. Jorge Delgado was struck in the back and suffered severe spinal injuries impairing his ability to walk and move.
Whisk Remodeling Corp.
The company failed to pay nearly 29 workers approximately $90,000 in wages.
Ortego, an undocumented construction worker, died when the trench he was working in collapsed and caused a wall from a neighboring home to collapse. William Lattarulo, the site owner, had listed a contractor as overseeing the digging of a foundation for a new coin laundry at the lot, but he actually supervised the work himself to save $90,000, despite that he lacked experience. He hired day laborers for $100 per day. On the morning of the incident, Lauro Ortego was digging the foundation in a trench beside a home owned by Lattarulo. The laundry's foundation was to be much deeper than that of the home, requiring the underpinning of the home's foundation to prevent a collapse. A consultant warned that the new foundation was unstable, but Lattarulo ignored the warnings and told Ortego to keep digging. Moments later, the wall collapsed onto Ortego, killing him. A second worker was injured in the incident. The same day of the incident, the building commissioner had visited the site and noted evidence of shoddy work conditions and issued a stop work order. Lattarulo had hired an architect in 2005 to design building plans, and the architect than subcontracted the work to Abraham Hertzberg, a professional engineer with Sanchez Associates. Hertzberg had lost his authority to self-certify architectural designs and used his partner's stamp to certify the design in Mr. Sanchez's name. Hertzberg also signed Sanchez's name onto documents for building permit applications for Lattarulo's project.
Six construction workers and a tourist were killed when a crane collapsed at the site of a highrise apartment building that was under construction. Two dozen people were injured when an adjacent brownstone flattened. The crane was owned by William Rapetti. He was responsible for supervising the assembly of the crane as sections were added and the crane was raised. When the crew was extending the crane upwards and attempting to secure the collar to the building with steel tie beams, the collar fell. The crane fell to the south across East 51st Street. The tower separated into three sections. Records showed that Ed Marquette, a city crane inspector, had inspected the crane 11 days prior to the collapse, but he had not actually conducted the inspection. Cellphone records showed that Marquette had a habit of being at home or at a local bar during working hours.
Victim, an undocumented day laborer, was crushed by a brick wall that collapsed. The wall was not adequately shored. Both the building owner and contractor had been warned by the concrete coring company that made cuts in the wall that a collapse was possible if the bricks above those being removed were reinforced. (Date below is approximate.)
Luis Almonte Sanchez died when a wall fell on him at a construction site in Sunset Park. The subcontractor willfully ignored a cave-in warning that had been isssued shortly prior to the wall collapsing. Sanchez was measuring an area in preparation for work. The soil beneath the foundation wall collapsed, causing a cave-in, and burying Sanchez with dirt and debris, resulting in his death. See indictment in Google Drive for full case details.