NYC Crane Inspector Accused of Taking Bribes

A New York City buildings official has been accused by the city’s Department of Investigation of accepting bribes for reporting that cranes had been inspected, and that crane operators were fully certified, when they were not. The department charges that James Delayo, an assistant chief inspector with the Department of Buildings, accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from an unnamed crane company over a period of eight years. Investigators charged that Delayo took money for signing-off on mobile crane inspections he did not perform, providing in advance the questions and answers for one or more “Class C” Hoisting Machine Operator Exams to a crane company, and signing-off on at least one practical exam for a crane operator who did not take the exam. But the department said there is no evidence that these actions had anything to do with the two crane collapses earlier this year, which killed nine people. “DOI’s investigation revealed the profoundly disturbing realization that a senior inspector responsible for ensuring that cranes operating in New York City are in proper condition and are operated by qualified individuals is charged with selling out his own integrity in a way that compromised public safety, leaving it in the hands of the individuals who paid him the bribes, and rendered his job meaningless,” said Department of Investigation commissioner Rose Gill Hearn in a statement released Friday. “DOI, working closely with District Attorney [Robert] Morgenthau, is vigorously pursuing this continuing corruption investigation.”Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said the package of construction safety legislation unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week is a positive. He mentioned, in particular, such measures as registering all contractors who work on a construction site, and requiring 30 hours of training for all workers involved in erecting and jumping, or lengthening, a crane. “There is no requirement for that now,” Spinola said.Robert Peckar, founding partner of construction law firm Peckar & Abramson, said that the fact that accusations made against this inspector made news means that the city¹s Department of Buildings has, for the most part, been successful in eliminating corruption. Overall, New York City has had an enviable high-rise construction safety record, Peckar said, noting that the latest accidents had two different causes, mechanical failure in the latest incident, and human error in the earlier.