Crane employees charged with bribery

October 7, 2008 10:58:31 AM PDT
Two employees of a Copiague crane company on Tuesday were charged with bribing the city's former chief crane inspector, who was arrested in June.Authorities say 48-year-old Michael Sackaris, the de-facto owner of Nu-Way Crane Service Inc., and his employee, 24-year-old Michael Pascalli, were arrested as part of the probe into 60-year-old James Delayo, the acting chief inspector for the Cranes and Derricks Unit at the city's Buildings Department.

The company was also charged in the scheme to pay bribes to Delayo to ensure cranes passed inspection and employees passed the crane licensing test, according to prosecutors. The indictment claims the company was bribing buildings department officials since 1996.

Delayo, who was arrested on June 6, oversaw the issuing of city licenses for crane operators. He admitted to accepting bribes of more than $10,000 from Sackaris between 2000 and 2007.

Sackaris and Pascalli were arrested Tuesday.

Eight of Nu-Way's crane operators reportedly received their licenses since 2000, the period in which Delayo is accused of selling exams. Four of the eight are licensed to operate tower cranes.

Sackaris received his Class A city license in 1995, according to Buildings Department records. He was issued a state license in the 1980s, despite receiving a failing grade of 61 on the practical exam. Passing is 65.

Sackaris was one of seven city-licensed operators whose state licenses were reinstated this year after passing a retest.

After Delayo's June arrest, Sackaris' city license, and those of the 11 operators who work for him at Nu-Way, were put "on hold" by the Buildings Department.

About 800 people are licensed to run tower cranes in the city.

Nu-Way was not linked to the two construction cranes collapses that killed nine people and prompting the resignation of previous Commissioner Patricia Lancaster.

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