DOB Wanted to Cuff Crane Owner James Lomma for Shoddy Crane Upkeep

The former head of the Department of Building’s cranes and derricks division said that crane owner James Lomma should have been arrested for poorly maintaining two tower cranes in 2007.

During her testimony at Mr. Lomma’s manslaughter trial in a Manhattan courtroom yesterday, former DOB official Bethany Klein said that the head of New York Crane & Equipment Corp. had failed to make two crucial repairs to the two cranes, one of which eventually collapse and kill two men at the E. 91st street accident in 2008. 

crane collapse1 DOB Wanted to Cuff Crane Owner James Lomma for Shoddy Crane Upkeep

Wreckage from the May 2008 Crane Collapse on E. 91st St.

Ms. Klein accused the crane owner for destroying evidence to conceal the crack in that crane’s turntable, which would later be repaired –cheaply and haphazardly, prosecutors charge– by a Chinese company, and said he should have been arrested for the shoddy upkeep of these cranes.

The NY Post reports:

“She [Klein] showed Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Daniel Convisor a letter trail detailing how, in the year before the fatal collapse, she had to take three of his four damaged Kodiac tower cranes out of commission for major equipment failures. A fourth would be yanked from service in the months after the collapse.”

Klein also testified that the crack was the result of a “lightning strike,” the NY Daily News reports.

Sewer company worker Ramadan Kurtaj, 27, and construction worker Donald Leo, 30, were both killed in the crane collapse.

Mr. Lomma faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

drosen@observer.com