News & Politics

Deutsche Demo Job’s Oddball Whistleblower


Here’s the payback for pestering your demolition coworkers and bosses about illegal smoking and swigging from a bottle of Johnny Walker while on the job:

“They called him a rat and a ‘fat Jew’ in graffiti scrawled across the port-a-pottys…urinated in his hard hat and sealed him inside a closet with duct tape positioned to form a swastika.”

As Charles Bagli recounts in today’s Times, this was the treatment afforded one Marshal Greenberg, a different kind of whistleblower who operated the hoist elevator at the Deutsche Bank building in lower Manhattan, site of the deadly fire that killed a pair of city firefighters in 2007. As Bagli reports, Greenberg, 39, is now suing his past employers, the John Galt Corporation and Bovis Lend Lease, saying the firms ignored his complaints about dangerous practices and later retaliated against him.

Adding insult to injury in this case is the fact that this disrespect was doled out to Greenberg even though he is a big man with a lot of tattoos as well as the son of a powerful Gambino crime family associate who has long been a top city demolition contractor.

Harold “Cookie” Greenberg, Marshal’s dad, 64, took down everything from the West Side highway to the old Palladium, leaving a trail of battered demolition workers in his wake, including an occasional on-the-job fatality. He also took a pair of convictions for bribery and bid rigging along the way. That was par for the course in the city’s seriously mobbed-up demolition industry. So was the loss of a big toe to a falling steel beam that Cookie forgot to dodge while working a job in Queens. In a visit to the offices of his sprawling Big Apple demo company in College Point in 1999, he insisted on pulling off his sock and shoe to show me the missing digit he called “Stumpie.”

“Oh no, not again,” groaned his secretary as he waggled his bare foot. Father and son: Born showmen.


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