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Manhattan DA Subpoenaed Contractor for Work Done at One World Trade Center

By James Fanelli | February 16, 2016 7:16am
 WDF Inc., a plumbing contractor, was subpoenaed last year by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for its work on One World Trade Center's communication rings.
WDF Inc., a plumbing contractor, was subpoenaed last year by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for its work on One World Trade Center's communication rings.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office ordered a plumbing and general contracting firm last year to hand over documents connected to its work on One World Trade Center's communication ring, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Prosecutors hit WDF Inc. with subpoenas in March, requesting it provide daily activity logs, construction logs and work schedules related to the tower’s communication ring and 105th floor, according to paperwork filed with the city.

The three steel rings hold antennae for broadcasting, which the Durst Organization, the operator of One WTC, plans to lease out to radio and television companies.

WDF, which bills itself as one of the nation’s leading plumbing, HVAC and specialty general contracting firms, was the plumbing contractor for all of One WTC.

The Manhattan DA's Office declined to comment on the subpoenas and would not say whether its investigation is ongoing. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site, also declined to comment on the subpoenas.

WDF disclosed the subpoenas in a May 2015 filing with the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. Any firm that wants to do business with the city is required to file the disclosures.

WDF, which has hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with the city, has been investigated several times by law enforcement and government agencies in the past few years.

Two years ago, the Port Authority’s Inspector General interviewed WDF employees after confidential drawings about the WTC’s Vehicle Security Center were found in a public park, according to its disclosures.

WDF was the HVAC contractor on the security center, a planned checkpoint where vehicles will be inspected before entering underground roadways and delivery points in the WTC’s site.

In its disclosures, WDF said it was unsure if the inspector general's probe was still open. The Port Authority also declined to comment on the inspector general’s investigation.

In November 2014, WDF reached a settlement agreement with the Manhattan DA’s Office and the Port Authority’s inspector general following an investigation into fraud and misuse of contracting programs intended to help minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises, or MWBEs.

Government agencies require a certain percentage of their contract work go to MWBEs. The WDF and other contractors had been under investigation over the use of MWBE supply companies that were in reality acting as straw firms.

In its disclosure, WDF said it had stopped using the supply companies even before being contacted by investigators. WDF also said that, in the settlement agreement, the Manhattan DA’s Office praised it for the proactive measures it took during the investigation.

WDF also disclosed in its city filings that:

• In 2012 the Manhattan DA issued subpoenas to WDF for documents connected to two contractors’ payments of prevailing wages for work on WTC 1. WDF’s disclosure said that it believed the investigation is still open.

• The Westchester District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to WDF in 2012 seeking a response to assertions by the New York State Board of Elections about over-contributions to political campaigns. WDF said it responded to the letter but never heard back from the DA’s office.

• In May 2015 the IRS sent a letter to WDF stating that it was seeking more than $300,000 in tax payments from its affiliate, Federated Fire Protection Systems Corp.

WDF did not respond to requests for comment.

Last April the Port Authority disclosed that the Manhattan DA’s Office had issued subpoenas seeking records connected to how the bi-state agency awarded a contract to operate One WTC’s observation deck.

Legends Hospitality won the contract in 2013. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones holds a partial stake in Legends.

The observation deck deal came under scrutiny after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accepted free travel and Cowboys tickets from Jones.