Buildings Inspector Arrested for Falsifying Crane Inspection

March 21, 2008
The City of New York Department of Investigation (DOI) announced the arrest of a Department of Buildings (DOB) inspector for allegedly lying about making a March 4 inspection of the crane that later collapsed on the city’s east side, killing six construction workers and one visitor.

The investigation following the March 15 collapse revealed the inspector, Edward J. Marquette, allegedly made a false entry in his Inspector's Route Sheet, claiming that he inspected the East 51st Street crane and found not problems. According to DOI, Marquette admitted during questioning that he did not complete the inspection.

“Crane inspectors are entrusted by the City with ensuring that cranes are operated in a way that does not compromise the safety of construction workers or the public,” said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn. “This inspector allegedly betrayed that trust at the most fundamental level by not doing an inspection assigned to him and then making a false record indicating that he did.”

Officials stressed, however, that a proper inspection by Marquette probably would not have prevented the crane collapse.

“Based on the preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation, it is unlikely that a March 4th inspection would have prevented this horrific accident, which we continue to believe was caused by human or mechanical error during the crane jumping operation on March 15,” said DOB Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster.

DOB Orders Re-inspections

Lancaster said that Marquette was suspended March 20 and indicated she will support “the most aggressive prosecution possible.”

In light of these allegations against Marquette, Lancaster ordered an immediate re-inspection of all the cranes he inspected during the last 6 months. She also requested that DOI investigate Marquette’s inspection reports from that same time period.

Lancaster also initiated the following actions:

  • Requested that DOI conducts a thorough review of the Cranes & Derricks Unit procedures and personnel for further recommendations;
  • Re-distributed the Code of Conduct to DOB’s 1,300 employees to enforce strict standards and the zero-tolerance policy; and
  • Launched a full operational review of the Cranes & Derricks Unit and ordered crane applications and related documents to be included in the online database for added transparency.

“The Buildings Department will not tolerate misconduct of any kind,” Lancaster said. “Employees found to have acted inappropriately will be disciplined to the full extent of the law.”

For related information, see NYC Office of Emergency Management Coordinating Response to Crane Collapse.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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