Construction Worker’s Fatal Fall Raises Questions About Site Safety
May 24, 2018
The death of a construction worker who fell more than a dozen stories from a construction site in uptown Charlotte Wednesday afternoon is raising questions about the safety of the site.
Juvenito Mata-Hernandez, 24, was riding in a construction elevator at the 19th floor of the Legacy Union construction site when he fell out of it, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
The company behind the project, Gilbane Building Co., has a lengthy list of OSHA violations. OSHA records indicate that Gilbane received 35 violations, all related to fall protection, since 2009. The company paid more than $12,000 in penalty, according to OSHA records. Those violations took place in several states, from New Hampshire to Texas. Full story
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office
Manhattan DA Announce Criminal Charges in Multimillion Dollar Wage Theft and Insurance Fraud Case Against Gilbane-Used Subcontractor
May 16, 2018
The Manhattan District Attorney announced the criminal indictment of Parkside Construction and its principals for schemes involving the theft of more than $1.7 million in wages, as well as workers’ compensation insurance fraud totaling approximately $7.8 million. Parkside Construction is the concrete contractor at 45 Park Place where Gilbane Building Co. is the general contractor. Full story
Women Construction Workers Paint Picture of Unchecked Sexual Harassment
Dec. 13, 2017
“In March Foster started work at 55 Hudson Yards, a 780-foot tower built just outside the site by Related, the developer of the huge mega project underway over the rail yards near the Javits Center. Gilbane Building Co. is the general contractor.” Full story
Construction Site from Hell Rains Metal, Concrete on Unsuspecting New Yorkers Below
July 2, 2017
In recent months, it’s been risky walking, or even driving, by the construction site at 200 E. 59th Street where a 35-story luxury condo is rising into the sky. Just ask Mohammad Razza.
The 50-year-old veteran cabbie was waiting at a red light on Third Avenue next to the site the morning of May 11 when out of nowhere came an explosion above his head. “It felt like a missile came down,” he told the Daily News. “For 30 seconds I was totally shocked, traumatized, because I didn’t know what happened.”
What happened was a four-foot crowbar had fallen from the 32nd floor of the job site, crashing down upon his cab, landing squarely on the front of his roof and his windshield. Full story
DOB Targets Gilbane After Concrete, Crowbar Falls from Macklowe’s East 59th Street Site
July 5, 2017
The city is cracking down on Gilbane Residential Construction after a rash of construction mishaps on several of the contractor’s sites.
In May, a crowbar fell from the 32nd story of a luxury condo building rising at Macklowe Properties’ 200 East 59th Street, the New York Daily News reported. The tool crashed onto the roof of a taxi driving by and shattered the vehicle’s windshield. An attorney for the driver — who hasn’t worked since — has indicated that he plans to sue.
Construction Site from Hell Rains Metal, Concrete on Unsuspecting New Yorkers Below
July 2, 2017
…What Razza did not know was that this was the third such incident in a two month span at the E. 59th St. site built by Gilbane Residential Construction, one of the biggest contractors in the country. Razza’s attorney, Neil Kalra, said he’s notified the contractor he intends to sue. Article Link
Full Stop-Work Order issued on June 1, 2017 at
200 East 59th Street
Source: NYC Department of Buildings website, June 1, 2017
Construction Worker Injured After he Falls on Steel at Upper East Side Site
May 18, 2017
A construction worker had to be loaded into a basket and lowered six flights after he fell on a piece of steel at an Upper East Side construction site Wednesday, authorities said.
The worker, a man in his 30s, suffered a serious leg and hip injury when he tumbled onto some rebar while working on Park Ave. near W. 84th St. at about 11:40 a.m., authorities said.
These workers have had enough and walked off of a Gilbane job!
A Dozen Walk Off Brooklyn Navy Yard Job; Get Fresh Start With Union Ironworkers
May 11, 2017 – Brooklyn, NY – A dozen non-union ironworkers helping to erect a 16-story office building inside the Brooklyn Navy costing hundreds of millions of dollars, walked off the job early Wednesday afternoon, citing dangerous working conditions, poor pay and lack of benefits. … According to striking ironworkers, however, two powerhouse contractors involved with the project – Gilbane Building Co. and FJM Ferro – are currently engaged in some pretty text book cases of worker exploitation, including placing their poorly compensated employees in danger.
Crowbar from High Rise Under Construction Smashes Into Taxi, Hurting Driver in Manhattan
May 11, 2017 – East Side, Manhattan (WABC)
A crowbar fell from a 35-story building under construction on Manhattan’s East Side Thursday, striking a taxi and sending one person to the hospital. … The company in charge of the project, The Gilbane Company, released a statement…
City Probes How Crowbar Fell 32 Stories from Midtown Construction Site, Slamming Into Cab and Injuring Driver
May 12, 2017
City inspectors are trying to figure out how a crowbar dropped 32 stories off of a Midtown construction site and landed on a cab, injuring the driver.
The incident occurred Thursday around 9 a.m. at 200 East 59th Street, where Gilbane Construction is putting up a luxury condo tower.
The cab driver was injured and transported to New York Hospital with an undisclosed injury. The Buildings Department stopped all work at the site and cited Gilbane for failure to safeguard the site and failure to maintain safety nets.
A spokesman for Gilbane said the site did have nets, and added that the company is investigating the incident “and taking every step to ensure it does not happen again.”
Update: More Trouble for Gilbane in NYC and Beyond
Since we last posted, Gilbane Building Company has been busy hiring lawbreaking subcontractors, and finding itself in hot water in New York City and across the country. Recent events include:
- A Nebraska couple is suing Gilbane, claiming that the company caused their house to explode;
- Gilbane hit for multiple violations at Macklowe Properties’ 200 East 59th Street condominium project, including violations in connection with falling debris that broke the windshield of a parked car.
- Gilbane agrees to pay millions to a San Diego County school district in connection with a 2011 pay-to-play scandal
- A crane contractor with a record of cheating workers out of wages and questionable safety practices is working at Gilbane’s WeWork project at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Nebraska Couple Sues Gilbane Over Home Explosion
A Nebraska couple is suing Gilbane, alleging that the firm’s negligent work caused their house to explode into pieces. According to the lawsuit filed by Dan and Ann Kadavy, Gilbane was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove a chemical called trichloroethylene, or TCE, from the groundwater near the Kadavy’s home. To remove the TCE, Gilbane injected emulsified soybean oil into the ground to aid the growth of bacteria that feed on the chemical. But in December 2013, seven days after Gilbane performed an injection, “a massive explosion lifted the [Kadavy’s] house and scattered debris more than 150 feet.”
The Kadavy’s allege that Gilbane’s work created a build-up of explosive methane that caused the eruption. Methane is a natural byproduct of the TCE remediation process, but methane was also already present in the ground due to the presence of a former landfill. The Kadavys allege that Gilbane should have known about the former landfill and should have therefore monitored methane levels so as to avoid the catastrophic explosion. Their suit charges Gilbane with Negligence, Private Nuisance, Trespassing, and Strict Liability. Gilbane has denied all allegations. The case is still active, as of March 10, 2017.
At Gilbane and Macklowe’s 35-story Manhattan Condo Project, Multiple Violations After Falling Debris Hits Parked Car
As we’ve previously reported, Gilbane is the general contractor at 200 East 59th Street, a luxury condominium tower being developed by Macklowe Properties. At the project, Gilbane has hired lawbreaking contractors like U.S. Crane & Rigging and RCI Plumbing, firms with records of dangerous practices and wage & hour violations.
Now, Gilbane has racked up its own safety violations at the 209 East 59th site, including for an incident in which debris fell from the 20th floor and broke the windshield of a car parked nearby. These violations include:
- 12/17/16 – Failure to have a site safety manager present. When an inspector from the Dept. of Buildings visited the site, the mandatory site safety manager was nowhere to be found, even though work was going on as high as 14 floors up.
- 1/23/17 – Multiple violations in the wake of the incident in which debris fell and broke the taxi car windshield. Following the accident, inspectors stopped all work on the site for a day. The DOB cited Gilbane for the falling debris, as well as for problems with the project’s safety netting, work that didn’t comply with the approved construction plans, and improper build-up of construction debris.
- 1/26/17 – Failure to comply with a cease-use order issued by the DOB. An elevator device was returned to service without the required inspection, in a move the DOB called “an unlawful act.”
Gilbane Ordered to Reimburse San Diego County School District Over Pay-to-Play Scandal
In January, a California judge approved a settlement requiring Gilbane and another firm to pay a combined $8.2 million to the San Diego-area Sweetwater School District in connection with the 2011 corruption scandal that saw a former Gilbane executive plead guilty to charges that he bought expensive gifts for members of the district. As a term of the settlement Gilbane did not admit any wrongdoing. For background on this case, click here.
Another Lawbreaking Subcontractor at Gilbane’s WeWork Project in the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Gilbane is constructing a new office building for WeWork and Boston Properties at 63 Flushing Ave in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As at many of its jobs, Gilbane has hired at least one lawbreaking contractor at the 63 Flushing Ave project.
The crane contractor at the site is a company called FJM-Ferro, Inc. In 2010 FJM-Ferro’s Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Casucci, was arrested by then NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for allegedly participating in a scheme to steal over $450,000 in State and New York City funds by cheating employees out of legal wages.
FJM-Ferro also has a questionable health and safety record. Since 2008, the company has been cited by OSHA on four separate occasions for serious health and safety violations, including after an inspection last August revealed FJM had not provided its workers with proper protection from falls.
Hold the Phone! Gilbane’s “Ethics Hotline” Too Little, Too Late
Gilbane Building Company recently announced that it had published on its website the numbers to an “Ethics Hotline.” The hotline, which the company says it has long maintained (but presumably never before publicized online), invites all Gilbane employees, vendors and contractors to “report any situation where there are concerns or questions about ethical procedures.” The timing of this announcement is curious. Why has Gilbane suddenly discovered the need to empower its employees and partners to report ethically questionable conduct? Could it be because Gilbane Exposed has revealed the company’s trail of public corruption and partnerships with some of New York City’s worst subcontractors?
An Ethics Hotline is certainly fitting for a company that has been implicated in a number of alleged political bribery cases. Perhaps a quick call to the hotline would have prevented the ethics scandals involving Gilbane that have led to the termination, resignation and/or civil penalization of government officials in four separate states. For instance, maybe someone could have dialed the hotline to keep Gilbane president Thomas Gilbane from inviting Ohio School Facilities Commissioner David Fischer to a two-night stay at his Providence home while Fischer was considering awarding no-bid construction contracts to Gilbane. Or perhaps a call to the hotline could have stopped William Gilbane, Jr. from paying for golf outings and a piece of art for officials at Connecticut’s Department of Public Works while Gilbane was performing work for the department.
Another question: Can someone call the hotline to report Gilbane’s unethical decision to partner with a series of unscrupulous subcontractors in New York City? Perhaps someone should call-in and report, for example, that Gilbane is working with U.S. Crane and Rigging, one contractor among a network of crane, hoist and rigging firms operated by Thomas Auringer and his family. Workers at Auringer’s firms have repeatedly reported that they are subjected to rampant exploitation and abuses including wage and hour violations, racism, discrimination, mistreatment, and retaliation by supervisors. One former Auringer employee, LaFondra Brown, told the New York Daily News that she was cheated out of wages; frequently sexually harassed by supervisors; and ordered to perform welding without a face mask, causing permanent damage to her corneas. The employees of subcontractors like Auringer’s are the men and women who perform most of the actual labor that generates profits for Gilbane. Will the hotline ensure that Gilbane stops partnering with the kind of subcontractors that treat their workers this way?
As you can see, the real “ethics violations” are right at Gilbane’s front door. If the Ethics Hotline is intended to address the concerns of workers and the public, then Gilbane should examine the unethical practices that come with the company’s current business model, namely:
Gilbane Building Company‘s Ethics Hotline may now be public, but it took Gilbane Exposed to bring to light the real inconsistencies in the company’s self-image. If Gilbane is looking for ethics violations, then its leaders should look in the mirror.
Gilbane Rally: June 10, 2016
Gilbane Construction Site
New York, NY 10007
Profits over Safety
Builder Riles Up Unions Amid Push Into NYC Market
A Providence, R.I.-based builder run by the same family for five generations has been making a big push into the New York City market, increasing its share of business from developers of residential, commercial and institutional constructions projects. The full story can be found here.
Construction Firm Building 1 Wall Street Incurs Wrath of Unions
June 06, 2016
Work sites run by a Providence, R.I.-based contractor have become flashpoints in the union vs. nonunion construction battle in New York.
Union protesters have targeted Gilbane Building Co., a century-old, family owned construction firm currently working on about $1.1 billion worth of projects in the city, including Harry Macklowe’s 1 Wall Street residential conversion, the Wall Street Journal reported. The full story can be found here.
Building Trades Draw the Line Against Bad Contractors
May 6, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
Obreros Protestan Contra Constructora en el Bajo Manhattan
La mayor parte de los obreros que mueren en zona de construcción no son parte de sindicatos
Mayo 5, 2016
“Que queremos? ¡Sindicatos!”, fue el grito de un grupo de hombres que cargaba un ataúd de madera negro en el Bajo Manhattan la tarde del jueves. Allí, cientos protestaron contra las presuntas prácticas abusivas de la constructora Gilbane Building Company.
The full story can be found here.