27.10.2011

Crane mechanic to testify against Lomma

The mechanic charged in the 2008 tower crane collapse on the Upper East side of Manhattan, New York, Tibor Varganyi, 65, has quietly changed his plea to one of guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

He has also agreed to testify against his boss James Lomma, 65, owner of the company that owned the crane, New York Crane and associate crane company JF Lomma.

The two face charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, criminally negligent homicide and second-degree reckless endangerment. Both had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In changing his plea to guilty, Varganyi will avoid the manslaughter charge that carries a possible 15-year prison sentence and by testifying against Lomma he may even avoid prison altogether.
The scene in 2008

The main plank of the prosecution’s case is that the company cut corners and had a substandard welding repair carried out on the slew ring support structure on the old Kodiak crane, which failed while in use and caused the crane to collapse, killing two men.

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