Justice Thomas Farber of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan sentenced former city employee Edward J. Marquette, 51, to five years probation in February 2013 for falsifying crane inspection records. In July 2012, Farber found Marquette guilty of filing a false instrument, falsifying business records and official misconduct. However, Marquette was found not guilty of charges of falsifying inspection records related to a crane collapse in 2008 that killed seven people, including six construction workers and a woman visiting from Florida.
An investigation into Marquette’s crane inspection records began after the fatal 2008 crane collapse. Officials discovered that Marquette entered a logbook entry stating that he had inspected the crane 11 days before it collapsed. Justice Farber stated that prosecutors did not prove Marquette actually filed official documentation claiming to have inspected the crane. However, investigators did find that Marquette claimed to have inspected six other cranes when, in fact, he never actually visited the sites.
According to prosecutors, Marquette’s cell phone records proved that he was “either at home or at a local bar” when he said he was inspecting the six cranes. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said Marquette’s actions put peoples’ lives at risk. He stated, “There are lifesaving reasons why the Department of Buildings has protocols and a set of standards in place for crane inspectors. By lying about inspecting cranes, the defendant put the safety of New Yorkers at risk.”
Prosecutors requested that Marquette, who resigned from his job after his arrest, be sentenced to one to three years in prison. However, Judge Farber stated, “The case is not as it appeared to be originally and things change, people change.” Farber pointed out that Marquette now has his drinking problem under control and required the defendant to stay sober as part of his probation sentence. In addition, Farber stated that Marquette’s actions were “condoned” by his supervisors.
Farber stated, “If I err, I would prefer to err on the side of mercy.”
Website Resource: Former Crane Inspector Is Found Guilty of Filing False Records, NY Times, Russ Buettner, July 20, 2012
Inspector in 2008 Crane Collapse Gets Probation, NY Times, Russ Buettner, February 13, 2013