Inspector Facing Charges for False Info on Asbestos-Contaminated Buildings in NY
December 6, 2010
A licensed safety inspector in New York admitted in federal court that he was guilty of filing false reports on hundreds of buildings in the city. Saverio F. Todaro, 68, was responsible for inspecting over 200 buildings and apartments, all of which he claimed he found no hazards.
Todaro’s negligence for the health of New Yorker’s has brought to light that the system in charge of policing the health conditions of buildings in the state, may be failing. It also raises a red flag to mesothelioma attorneys eager to represent victims of asbestos exposure. Todaro’s oversight was not only on buildings that are still being used, but on those that have been demolished, potentially exposing hundreds, if not thousands of people to crumbling and disturbed asbestos made airborne. In fact, a website has been established by the Manhattan United States attorney’s office, which is in charge of prosecuting the case, to comply with a law requiring notification of the dangers to victims.
As part of the investigation into Todaro’s actions, it is being considered whether he may have conspired with others for his own financial gain, or if he acted alone for other motivations. In Todaro’s decision to submit false reports of lead and asbestos in New York City’s buildings, he left many at risk of developing mesothelioma lung cancer, an incurable disease.
Several city agencies respond to the seriousness of danger with an air of calmness. According to a New York Times article, Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “We can always look for new ways to improve our process. D.E.P. is going to start increasing audits, which is the right step to ensure inspections are being completed properly.”
But the investigation doesn’t end at Todaro’s case. There were six other unrelated federal investigations going on at the same time. Officials are concerned that people may have been trying to save money in Todaro’s case by demolishing buildings without prior pricey asbestos testing being performed. And according to several current and former law enforcement officials and industry experts, corruption has been a major issue in the city’s construction industry, particularly the demolition and asbestos abatement sectors.
While Todaro is facing a sentence of anywhere between 51 and 63 months, investigations on other issues are being handled by agents under the supervision of William V. Lometti, head of the New York office of the E.P.A.’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the City Department of Investigation, with help from the federal Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General. Anne C. Ryan, an experienced assistant United States attorney specializing in environmental crimes working in the Complex Frauds Unit will be prosecuting the cases.
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