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NYC crane inspector pleads not guilty

July 3, 2008 12:32:56 PM PDT
A former inspector accused of lying about examining a construction crane that later collapsed, killing seven people, pleaded not guilty to criminal charges on Thursday.Edward Marquette, 47, could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count in his indictment, tampering with public records.

The indictment demonstrates "that there is zero tolerance for city inspectors, or any employees, who compromise public safety by shirking their responsibility and falsifying official records," said Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

"Crane inspectors perform the crucial task of ensuring that cranes operate safely in this city and, as this indictment charges, Mr. Marquette fell far short of that obligation," Hearn said in a statement. "DOI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners and DOB to make it clear that with respect to inspections and public records, honesty is the only acceptable policy."

Marquette was responsible for examining a crane at a construction site on East 51st Street on March 4, 2008. He indicated on a Department of Buildings "Hoist and Rigging Inspectors Route Sheet" that he had inspected the crane when in fact he had not, according to the indictment.

The deadly collapse occurred 11 days later. However, officials said it was unlikely an inspection would have prevented the tragedy.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said the defendant also was responsible for inspecting cranes at other Manhattan sites on Jan. 23 and Jan. 30, when he allegedly prepared false inspection documentation.

Marquette, of Manhattan, was arrested March 19. He also is charged with offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and official misconduct.

State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Kahn allowed Marquette to remain free without bail and ordered him to return to court on Aug.

14. Neither he nor his lawyer would comment as they left the courthouse.


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