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22 Groups Urge Judge to Give Construction Co. Sentence for Worker's Death

By Danielle Tcholakian | July 1, 2016 4:59pm | Updated on July 4, 2016 11:56am
 The construction site at 9-19 Ninth Avenue on April 6, 2015, the day 22-year-old construction worker Carlos Moncayo was crushed to death.
The construction site at 9-19 Ninth Avenue on April 6, 2015, the day 22-year-old construction worker Carlos Moncayo was crushed to death.
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Manhattan District Attorney's Office

MEATPACKING DISTRICT — Twenty-two groups, including a coalition of general contractor companies, wrote letters urging a New York Supreme Court judge to give Harco Construction the maximum sentence possible for the death of 22-year-old worker Carlos Moncayo.

Moncayo died at a Harco worksite at 9-19 Ninth Ave. on April 6, 2015, in an excavation pit that was not properly shored up.

After a three-week trial, Judge A. Kirke Bartley, Jr. found the company guilty last month of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

Bartley is expected to sentence the company on July 13.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office submitted a sentencing recommendation letter on Thursday, along with 22 additional letters from labor unions, academic organizations, local and national community organizations and even a coalition of 1,800 union construction managers, general and specialty trade contractors based in New York City.

That organization, the Building Trade Employers' Association, took issue with comments in the media that suggested Harco's conviction was problematic for all general contractors.

"BTEA contractors are sick and tired of contractors like Harco defining the public perception of how serious and important public and worker safety is to them and the way they manage the thousands of construction projects they are responsible for in New York City," wrote the group's president and CEO, Louis J. Coletti.

Harco's defense attorneys had argued that the company could not be held accountable because they had no direct employees on the site other than a superintendent and because they could not fire the employees of the subcontractor responsible for the excavation.

The Manhattan DA is pushing for Bartley to fine Harco $10,000 for each of the felony charges and $5,000 for the misdemeanor charges, which would amount to a total of $35,000.

The DA also wants the judge to order Harco to pay for a televised and print worker safety ad campaign that would run in English and Spanish in the late summer or early fall.

A Harco superintendent, Alfonso Prestia, is being charged separately for the death, along with the subcontractor company responsible for the excavation, Sky Materials Corp., and their foreman Wilmer Cueva. That trial has not yet begun.

Harco's defense attorney did not respond to a request for his own sentencing letter.