City’s Top Crane Inspector Is Arrested
By William K. Rashbaum
The city’s chief crane inspector was arrested on Friday and charged with taking bribes to approve cranes under his review and for taking money from crane operators who sought to ensure that they would pass the required licensing exam, an official involved in the case said.
James Delayo, the acting chief inspector for cranes and derricks at the city Department of Buildings, was in charge of overseeing the issuance of city licenses for crane operators. He is also facing charges that he provided a copy of the crane operator’s exam and the test answers to a crane company in exchange for $3,000, the official said.
Mr. Delayo, who is being prosecuted by the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, surrendered this morning to investigators from the city’s Department of Investigation, the official said. The city investigators developed the case.
The charges against Mr. Delayo will likely include receiving an unlawful gratuity and offering a false instrument for filing, the official said, and come just a week after the city’s second fatal tower crane collapse in 10 weeks.
The accusations, however, do not involve the inspections of the large tower cranes, like those that collapsed last Friday and March 15, but smaller machines, known as Class C cranes, the official said.
Investigators believe that Mr. Delayo, since at least 2002, signed off on the annual inspection of between 20 and 30 Class C cranes without conducting any examination in exchange for “several hundred dollars” apiece, the official said.
The official said that Mr. Delayo also took bribes of “a couple of hundred dollars” in exchange of issuing licenses to about half a dozen Class C crane operators, including in one instance to a man who did not even take the test. All of the operators worked for the company that paid for the test and the answers, said the official, who did not disclose the name of the company.
“The long and short of it is that between 2002 and 2007 he accepted money — bribes for passing individual test-takers in order to get a crane operating license,” the official said. In the other instances, the official said, he took the money to insure they passed.
Prosecutors were in the process of drawing up a criminal complaint against Mr. Delayo and he is expected to be arraigned in Criminal Court in Manhattan late tonight or Saturday, the official said.
It was unclear whether Mr. Delayo had yet retained a lawyer and he could immediately not be reached for comment.
Mr. Delayo was promoted to the post of acting chief inspector after the March collapse, the official said.
The city’s Buildings Department issues licenses to crane operators who work within its borders, while state officials issue such licenses across the rest of New York. Earlier this year, state officials reported similar problems with the integrity of the process under which they were granting licenses and said one longtime employee had approved 210 people for licenses despite their having failed the official exam.
We should put that guy in charge of Universal Healthcare.
Color me shocked, shocked. I for one would never have suspected this could be happening.
I can think of one guy who should have retired instead of taking his last promotion, he couldn't figure out that the spotlight was going to get turned on full bright?
Is this the guy that did the live on-site news conf. with Bloomberg after the latest crane collapse?
If so, he's got cojones. More than brains, anyway.