Tuesday, July 17, 2007

DA Brown charges buildings scofflaws

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn and New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, announced today the arrest of five individuals – including two licensed professional engineers – responsible for the alleged fraudulent filing of hundreds of official documents pertaining to construction or home renovation projects involving dozens of buildings in Queens County.

District Attorney Brown said, “Left undetected, the defendants’ alleged fraud could have potentially resulted in the collapse of some of the buildings involved or created fire hazards for neighboring structures. Cutting corners is not the same as cutting through red tape. The defendants’ alleged actions posed a serious risk of injury or even death to unwitting occupants. As a result of a joint investigation by the City’s Department of Investigation, Department of Buildings and my own Special Proceedings Bureau, those allegedly responsible have been apprehended and will be prosecuted and punished.”

More here:

FIVE INDIVIDUALS CHARGED WITH FILING HUNDREDS OF FRAUDULENT DOCUMENTS WITH CITY’S BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT

10 comments:

connie said...

Five, hey that is news!

Anonymous said...

The P.E., Hansa Persaud, aka Millenium Construction, supposedly responsible for loads of self-certified "crap" in Richmond Hill & South Ozone Park.

verdi said...

Is our "vigilant" D.A. Brown going to demand an end to the self certification process in light of all this ?

Or is it going to continue to be business as usual ? !!!

Dan said...

I think we should differentiate between professional misconduct and professional licensing. Although self-certification may have its faults, engineers and architects are licensed in New York State and therefore, put their licenses on the line every time they self certify negligently. Most professional engineers and registered architects are upstanding honest citizens and professional in nature. I for one would never certify a building which fails to meet the design criteria and building codes. More efficient enforcement of these fraudulent individuals should be the course of action rather than having these bad apples represent the entire industry. Taking away their licenses and prosecuting them is the first step. Now we need to have the self certification process audited occasionally to ensure that these professinals are not falsely certifying non-conforming structures.

verdi said...

"Dan" .....I hate to bust your bubble....it's been admitted, by some local legislators (who have spoken privately to DOB officials) that at least 90% of all building violations are due to the self certification process !
(Who ever heard of the fox guarding the chicken coop anyway) !

These are not merely isolated cases but the general norm !

DOB plans examiners should be the only people certifying plans....not the architects !

This is the original way that the system worked . Let's return to it !

Dan said...

Verdi,

I do not disagree that most violations are in the self certification process. However, my comments were that these people should lose their licenses. We should not allow them to continue to practice with such low morals (there is actually an ethics clause in the professional engineering licensing.) This can be cleaned up by agressively searching out these unscrupulous characters and taking away their ability to continue to act in such a manner. this will be more easily accomplished than increasing DOB staff by a few hundred - or even thousand - in order to inspect all of the building permits on the books. Hell, DOB cannot keep up with the paperwork alone, no less the inspection process. I am merely suggesting that a smaller group of inspectors be hired to check on the self certifications on a spot check basis to start catching these criminals. Their lack of ethics should in no way affect all of the professionals out there who are acting in an ethical manner.

verdi said...

My representative (a high level State Senator) stated at an open public meeting that it is just about impossible to have a violating law breaking architect's license REVOKED !

It falls under the purview of the Dept. of Education ! They rarely act in these cases and most offending "architects" get off to freely continue skirting by the building codes ( i.e. Scarrano etc.) !

Dan.....if you're at all honest....you should have no objections to a DOB plans examininer certifying your blueprints !

It's OK to be playing "devil's advocate" provided, of course, that you yourself are not one of these devils !

C'mon fella, stop jerking our chains !

verdi said...

P.S. "Dan".......

If DOB cannot put enough plans examiners on staff at the moment......then, perhaps , a momentary slow down (or even a moratorium on over development) should become the order of the day until we can all play catch up !

We're talking about SAFETY issues here !

There are just so many surgical procedures that a doctor can schedule to perform each week before it begins to affect the critical safety standards for patients !

Whoever said that the " bum's rush" approach should, similarly, be used to streamline the flow of architects' plans through the approval process ? !!!

Dan said...

Verdi,

I welcome a DOB inspection every day of every week and have never had a violation against my license. You state that it is next to impossible to revoke a license, that is not true. Talk to your state senator and ask him about the DOE ethics board and complaint area as well as enforcement. Licenses can be revoked very easily if the case is proven. Again, I am not saying that there are not unscupulous engineers and architects, but rather we should be taking their licenses away. There are doctors out there that give out prescriptions for narcotics illegally, should we stop all doctors from writing prescriptions until we can figure out how to stop this handful from behaving in such a manner? Maybe another alternative is to have an independant third party licensee inspect the property and certify with signatory confirmation that he/she is an independant third party.

verdi said...

"Dan"....
maybe you didn't get my message and the messages of many others (i.e. including some honest politicians, industry professionals etc.) who are speaking both on and off the cuff:

I'll repeat it......

SELF CERTIFICATION IS A TOTAL BUST....
it ain't working !

(Even a DOB supervisor has actually admitted to this fact at a public homeowners' association meeting....about a year and a half ago) !

If you're afraid to accept the overwhelming public desire to abolish this faulty process then (maybe) you're in league with all those loosey-goosey self-cert proponents and are actually (?) representing them on this blog site (?) !

Once again fella....stop jerkin' all our chains with your feeble discourse.
I think that all of our intelligent readers out there are able to see right through you !

10-4....over and out....end of conversation.
Get back to your house building (architect? or whoever you are) !

It's time to exit gracefully!
You're begining to bore us and insult us !!!