Monday, October 8, 2007

DA's probe will not stop at crimes

The Downtown Express reports that the borough's District Attorney will not only report on crimes committed by the public authorities and other agencies involved in the controversial state projects, but will rebuke public officials for wrongdoing as well.

Obviously, we're not talking about Brooklyn here. It's the Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau who will report on the disastrous fire at the Deutsche Bank fire. Here's a bit from Morgy’s Deutsche probe will not stop at crimes:

Prior to the fire, L.M.D.C. [Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the public authority in charge of the World Trade Center site] officials had repeatedly assured residents the demolition would proceed safely. Over the years, Community Board 1, environmental activists and local politicians raised concerns over many aspects of the project including the L.M.D.C.’s hiring of a contractor with alleged mob ties, John Galt Corp.; falling debris from the building; and fire safety violations.

At the end of last year, the L.M.D.C. passed direct supervision of the Deutsche building to its subsidiary, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center and it has taken it back since the fire.

Last week, it was revealed that Charles Maikish, the former executive director of the Construction Center, wrote a memo in May warning L.M.D.C. Chairperson Avi Schick that Maikish did not have enough staff to properly supervise the project.

The failure of the public authorities to adequately follow environmental laws is a familiar story to people following the Downtown Brooklyn redevelopment. The NYC Economic Development Corporation ignored relevant experts in its environmental review of the neighborhood, which in the case of Duffield was the respected academics hired to review the part of the environmental review that includes historical resources.

Manhattan is lucky to have someone from the borough-wide government willing to take a hard look. Hopefully someone from the Brooklyn Borough President's office will speak out in favor of protecting the Duffield Abolitionist homes.