June 22nd - June 26th, 2009
DOI Releases 130 Liberty Report
June 22- A report from DOI, the City Department of Investigations, says a former Department of Buildings supervisor ignored an inspector’s call to test a broken standpipe months before the fatal August 2007 fire. Several published reports say Robert Iulo told the employee not to mention the broken standpipe in his report and ordered Bovis to fix the pipe, but didn’t order Bovis to test the pipe. Iulo denies the allegations. If the test had been carried out, the families of the two firefighters who were killed, claim inspectors would have discovered the standpipe wasn’t working. The DOI report was also critical of the FDNY for not inspecting the pipe every 15 days as required in the five months leading up to the fire. Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said, “This is a case of missed opportunities.” FDNY and DOI say they will review the report and make policy adjustments if necessary.
130 Liberty Deconstruction on Schedule
June 22 – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation said the deconstruction of the Deutsche Bank Building may be delayed because it will run out of money by October. The LMDC said it will need up to $35 million to complete the job. At its June Board meeting, the LMDC approved another $20 million. City officials were not happy with the announcement and pressed LMDC officials to hold a Board meeting in July for an update on the project. The LMDC feels the extra money for the project could come from the building’s prior insurers and possibly the contractor, Bovis.
PA Supports Funding One Tower
June 22 – Several Port Authority projects, such as the Moynihan Train station and a new terminal at LaGuardia airport, would suffer if the PA was forced to tap into its coffers to pay for all of the towers at the WTC site, according to The New York Post. The report says other work that could lose funding would be the rehab of the runways at Kennedy Airport and expansion of Staten Island’s shipping port.
Bloomberg Favors Shifting Funds from Moynihan
June 22 – Mayor Bloomberg wants funding for Moynihan Station to be shifted to the WTC. Bloomberg said on his radio show, “Maybe we can get Congress to help and reallocate some of the funds for projects that probably aren’t going to get done in the short term, like Moynihan Station.” Shortly after the announcement, Senator Schumer said he is totally opposed to the idea.
2008 Construction Employment Number Up from 2007
June 23 – The numbers are in for the construction industry for 2008. The New York Building Congress report says overall construction spending was $31.8 billion, topping the 2007 figure by $1.3 billion. Non residential activity accounted for $10.9 billion while public sector projects added up to $15 billion and residential construction accounted for $5.9 billion. Construction employment in 2008 reached 129,900 up from 127,000 in 2007.
Quinn Supports Building on WTC site
June 24 – City Council Speaker Christine Quinn agrees with Mayor Bloomberg about the fate of the WTC site. The New York Observer reports Quinn disagrees with the New York Times which questions spending public money on private office space at the site. However Quinn refused to say if she thinks money slated for Moynihan Station should be spent on the WTC; the Mayor called for that switch earlier in the week.
Fire Department Disciplines Officers
June 25 – Disciplinary action was taken against 7 NYFD officers for the breakdown in the inspection system at the Deutsche Bank building before the fatal fire in August of ’07 which killed two firefighters. All 7 were censured; two of the officers will never be able to command the posts they held at the time of the fire. The Firefighters union criticized the punishment, saying the FDNY brass had rarely enforced inspection rules. The rule requires basic inspections every 15 days at all high rise buildings, under construction or demolition.
NJ-NY Lawmakers Push 9/11 Legislation
June 25 – Several New York and New Jersey lawmakers are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would extend to 2031, a compensation fund for thousands of 9/11 workers. It would provide $12 billion in long-term medical care and monitoring for those who became sick after being exposed to toxic dust at Ground Zero. The bill is called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after the police officer who was the first person to die from his work at Ground Zero.
DOB Study Reveals Weaknesses
June 26 – The Department of Buildings (DOB) released a $4 million study which criticized the Department’s inspection process. According to The Daily News, the report said inspectors are poorly trained, their work is below par and fines are seen as ‘a cost of doing business.” The Department was faulted for not having a standard training procedure; it also said it’s difficult to determine if architects’ plans conform to city code. The study was conducted after 19 people were killed on construction sites last year. Regarding tower cranes, the study found 68% had problems relating to maintenance and repair and 23% of the tower cranes in the city are more than 30 years old.
Claremont Will Not Open
June 26 – It looks like Claremont Prep School will not be opening up at 100 Church Street. The Downtown Express reports the deal fell apart over plans by Claremont to build a rooftop addition. The owner of the building would not comment; the paper is reporting Claremont is looking at other sites Downtown.