Sunday, November 27, 2011

Concrete Tests Faked Again, Officials Charge

Published: August 4, 2011

In 2008, a company hired to test the strength of the concrete used at major public works projects in New York, including the Second Avenue subway and the new Yankee Stadium, falsified results, prosecutors concluded, and construction executives scrambled to find a replacement.

On Thursday, the company they selected, its owner and five employees were arraigned on charges of doing the very same thing on those two projects and hundreds of others.

In fact, none of the nearly 3,000 test reports that investigators seized from the replacement company, American Standard Testing and Consulting Laboratories, contained legitimate test results, according to one person briefed on the inquiry that led to the charges.

“The volume of fabricated tests is egregious,” the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said in announcing the charges. “It was systemic; it was pervasive.”

In addition to Yankee Stadium and the Second Avenue subway, the projects for which test results were allegedly falsified represented a remarkable array of familiar places, both old and new: work on the Lincoln Tunnel, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s huge new Fulton Transit Center and East Side Access project, the new air-traffic control tower at La Guardia Airport, a building at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Medical College, Columbia University and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

Investigators initially found cracks in the concrete at the airport and at the Javits Center, but officials said they did not represent serious structural threats. A spokeswoman for the district attorney said the fissures were fixed.


The 29-count indictment filed in the case against American Standard accused the six men of a money-making scheme that included falsifying the results of tests required by law to measure the strength and quality of concrete poured on projects in New York City and Westchester County and on Long Island. The defendants and the company are charged under the state’s racketeering law.

The decade-long reputed scheme also included falsifying documents to get city licenses and manipulating government programs to obtain jobs for which they were not entitled, according to the charges.

The owner of the company, Alan Fortich, 44; his brother, Alvaro Fortich Jr., 32, who worked there as an inspector; and the four other defendants surrendered on Thursday at the district attorney’s office.


tags: business ethics

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