The developer slated to build two apartment buildings alongside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine hired a firm with alleged past mob ties and a deadly safety record to demolish a one-story metal shed on the church grounds in Morningside Heights.
The Brodsky Organization tapped Brooklyn-based Breeze National Inc., a firm formerly headed by alleged Luchese crime family associate Toby Romano Sr., who was convicted in 1988 of bribing a health inspector to overlook violations at an asbestos removal job.
The firm, which has logged several safety violations and had two of its workers killed on the job, is now headed by Romano’s son, Toby Jr.
“I think it’s an inappropriate choice of a demolition company to be working in our neighborhood,” said Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell (D-Morningside Heights), whose district includes the site and has not supported the Cathedral’s latest development scheme.
Breeze National was booted off Columbia University’s West Harlem expansion project in 2012 after worker Juan Ruiz was killed and two others were injured during the demolition of a W.131st St. warehouse. The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration slapped Breeze National the firm with a $9,800 fine, which the firm settled for $4,900 last September.
The demolition firm hauled Columbia to Manhattan Supreme Court later that year, seeking payment for its work and damages for alleged defamation.