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A city buildings inspector was arrested on Wednesday for falsifying a inspection report on an East Side crane just 11 days before it came tumbling down killing seven and damaging a nearby building in one of the city worst construction accidents.
Edward J. Marquette faces up to four years in prison for filing a report alleging that he inspected the crane on March 4th—after a retired buildings inspector alerted city officials that the crane on E. 51st was not properly fastened to the building.
On March 16, the day after the deadly accident, Marquette told the city Department of Investigation that he had properly inspected the crane on March 4 and found no problems. He had also filing a report indicating the same. After gathering information that suggested otherwise, city investigators interviewed Marquette again on Wednesday and he admitted that he didn’t do the inspection and falsified his reports.
The crane was inspected the day before the accident, and Marquette’s failed inspection would not have prevented the accident, said Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster.
“Based on the preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation, it is unlikely that a March 4th inspection would have prevented this horrific accident,” said Lancaster in a statement. “We continue to believe (it) was caused by human or mechanical error during the crane jumping operation on March 15th.”
The city has ordered an immediate re-inspection of all the cranes inspected by Marquette over the last six months.