06.01.2009

NYC crane inspector pleads not guilty

The former crane inspector arrested on charges of falsifying an inspection report for the crane that collapsed in New York killing seven and injuring 24 has pleaded not guilty to crimal charges last week.

Edward Marquette, 47, could face a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted of the top count in his indictment, tampering with public records.

The indictment demonstrates "that there is zero tolerance for city inspectors, or any employees, who compromise public safety by shirking their responsibility and falsifying official records," said Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

"Crane inspectors perform the crucial task of ensuring that cranes operate safely in this city and, as this indictment charges, Mr. Marquette fell far short of that obligation," said Hearn. "DOI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to make it clear that with respect to inspections and public records, honesty is the only acceptable policy."

Marquette was responsible for examining a crane at a construction site on East 51st Street on March 4, 2008. He indicated on a Department of Buildings "Hoist and Rigging Inspectors Route Sheet" that he had inspected the crane when in fact he had not, according to the indictment.

The deadly collapse occurred 11 days later, however officials said it was unlikely an inspection would have prevented the tragedy.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said the defendant also was responsible for inspecting cranes at other Manhattan sites on January 23 and January 30, when he allegedly prepared false inspection documentation.

Marquette is also charged with offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and official misconduct.



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