[Marxism] NY Daily News: Breeze Construction was "mob-related"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Mar 22 13:54:43 MDT 2012

(Hardest-hitting article so far. It mentions that one of the 
fatalities was a 69 year old man. Sounds like one of the folks 
that Michael Yates blogged about.)


Harlem building collapse kills construction worker at demolition site

2 other injured hardhats pulled from Columbia University expansion 
plan rubble

By Sharyn Jackson, Ben Lesser AND Corky Siemaszko / NEW YORK

A veteran hardhat working for a demolition company with mob ties 
was killed Thursday and two others were badly hurt after part of a 
Harlem building suddenly crashed down on them, authorities said.

The trio was pinned by tons of reinforced concrete and steel, 
sparking a desperate rescue by fellow hardhats who used their bare 
hands to free them.

They quickly dug out two of the trapped workers, one of whom later 
died, officials said. But it took 45 minutes to reach the third 
hardhat, 60-year-old King Range, who was dragged bleeding with a 
head wound from the wreckage.

“He was really banged up, but he talked all the way to the 
ambulance,” said a firefighter at the scene.

All three were transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where one — a 
69-year-old Bronx man — was pronounced dead on arrival. His name 
was not released.

The other injured construction workers were in serious condition, 
officials said.

“My father, he’s my rock,” said Range’s son, King Range Jr., 25, 
of the Bronx. “As a child I would never imagine that I would talk 
to anyone about my father being injured. He’s like my Superman. 
This is very tough right now.”

He said his dad — an observant Muslim who makes stained glass 
windows — has a ruptured shoulder blade in addition to head injuries.

“I’m just extremely thankful to God he’s alive,” said the son, who 
suffers from cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair to get around. 
“Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

Relatives identified the other injured worker as 30-year-old Sakim 
Kirby of the Bronx.

“I’m still numb,” said Kirby’s dad, Curtis, who said his son 
suffered a concussion and multiple spine and pelvic injuries. “He 
worked so many years for them and never had an accident.”

The three men work for Breeze National, which records show is 
owned by reputed Luchese crime family associate Toby Romano.

Romano was convicted in 1988 of bribing inspectors to overlook 
health violations on asbestos-removal jobs.

A call to Romano’s company was not returned.

Romano’s workers began demolishing the former two-story paint 
warehouse at 604-606 W. 131st St. last month, records show.

Two-thirds of the nearly century-old building at 604-606 W. 131st 
St. had been razed when it caved in about 7:50 a.m., a Fire 
Department spokesman said.

Neighbors said at first they thought a bomb had gone off.

While the cause of the collapse was still under investigation, 
officials at the scene said a worker had just finished cutting a 
support beam when the floor above him fell and took two supporting 
walls down as well.

The project was part of Columbia University’s expansion plan, a 
member of Community Board 9 said at the scene.

The accident was not the first time city inspectors found problems 
at the job site, records show.

In November, the Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order 
because the scaffolding was a floor higher than approved. The 
order was rescinded a week later.

On March 5, the DOB issued a partial stop-work order on because 
hardhats on the site were using improper safety harnesses. Two 
days later, work was allowed to resume, records show.

Breeze National was also hit with violations for failing to notify 
the DOB that it was starting demolition and for failing to 
properly safeguard all the people and property affected by the 
demolition, records show.

Two years ago, a 51-year-old Breeze National worker named Jozef 
Wilk fell to his death while demolishing another Columbia-owned 
building at 3229 Broadway.

Wilk tumbled from third-floor scaffolding on the outside of the 
building and down an open elevator shaft to his death.

A Polish immigrant, Wilk was a married father of two who lived in 
Jackson Heights, Queens.

csiemaszko at nydailynews.com

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