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Queens Chronicle

Avella asks buildings commissioner to quit

Cites inaction against Huang

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:30 am

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said New York City Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandry should step down if he is unwilling or just unable to mobilize city resources to stop notorious Queens developer Tommy Huang.

Avella spoke in Elmhurst last week at a press conference outside the property at 84-16/18 Queens Blvd., where a 26-year-old construction worker was killed in January 2010 when a wall collapsed on him. A Huang family company was working on the site.

The senator said the city should bar developers with numerous illegal projects and long-standing violations from receiving building and construction permits. He said LiMandri, appointed in 2008, should resign if he can’t effect such changes.

“If you can’t solve this issue, maybe you should step down and let someone else do it,” Avella said in a speech posted to his Senate website.

It is not the first time the senator has had Huang in his sights. In his days as a city councilman he introduced a bill aimed at stopping chronic violators like Huang, but neither the mayor nor the Department of Buildings went along.

Hedilberto Sanchez Hidalgo was killed in January 2011 when an unbraced concrete block wall collapsed on him.

Huang’s H Rock Corp. was one of three companies fined for “willful, repeat and serious” violations of safety laws.

A DOB spokeswoman said Avella’s claims are baseless, in a statement sent by email.

“Under Commissioner LiMandri, the Department of Buildings has moved aggressively to make construction safer, enforce the rules and stop unsafe construction — as we have done at Mr. Huang’s site — and we continue to work on new proposals to strengthen our ability to enforce against bad actors,” said Ryan FitzGibbon.

She said they have implemented 25 new laws, created specialized oversight units, and brought disciplinary charges against hundreds of industry members.

Welcome to the discussion.