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For Immediate Release
November 13, 2008


Licenses of Two Tower Crane Operators Suspended, $50,000 in Fines Imposed

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri announced today that administrative penalties have been imposed in a disciplinary case brought against two tower crane operators whose Hoist Machine Operator (HMO) licenses were suspended by the Department following an investigation into the death of a construction worker on September 4, 2008.

Christopher Van Duyne will be subject to an eight-month suspension of his Class B HMO license, and his brother, James Van Duyne, will be subject to a six-month suspension of his Class B HMO license. Each individual also must pay a total of $25,000 to the Department and is required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of Department-approved training before the suspension period ends. A Class B HMO license allows an individual to operate any type of crane in New York City.

"Shortcuts on construction sites put lives at risk," said Commissioner LiMandri.  "Every worker must take responsibility for protecting the safety of the workers and the public, and anyone who ignores this obligation will face serious consequences."  

This resolution, which concludes the case before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, took effect on Friday, November 7. Under the agreement, Christopher and James Van Duyne are prohibited from operating a crane during their suspension periods or acting as a rigging foreman under a licensed Master Rigger, but they may work as part of a team during rigging operations on a crane.

The Class B HMO licenses held by Christopher and James Van Duyne were initially suspended on September 23, 2008, based on administrative charges that they endangered public safety and violated the City's Construction Codes. The two men were members of a rigging crew dismantling a tower crane at 600 West 42nd Street in Manhattan when a worker, Anthony Esposito, fell from a platform attached to the crane and died. Investigators later determined a guardrail had been removed from the platform.

The individual who oversaw the dismantling operation, Gene Altobelli, surrendered his Master Rigger's license after the Department suspended the license on September 5, 2008.

Commissioner LiMandri would like to thank Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn and her staff for their work on this case.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Kate Lindquist   (212) 566-3473