N.Y.C. Departmentof Buildings Special Enforcement Team Does Its Job - Prevents Potentially Disastrous Hotel Fires
The N.Y.C. Department of Buildings has suspended the license of Master Electrician Robert Spallinos and fined him $100,000 after determining he installed cheap, illegal wooden parts, instead of the metal, insulated collars required by the Electrical Code, inside the electrical systems of five high-rise hotels in midtown Manhattan. It wasn't an accident - Spallino even painted his wooden "carvings" black in a bid to fool inspectors into thinking they were made of fireproof metal, according to Department of Buildings documents. He used homemade wooden collars to rig wires together -- a potentially deadly fire hazard. The city building code requires that wires pass through a fireproof conduit made of metal collars between floors. The actions taken against Spallino were led by the Departments Special Enforcement Team, a unit of attorneys, plan examiners, inspectors and support staff that identifies professionals, building owners and contractors who blatantly disregard the law. The unit, created in 2007, researches offenders networks and patterns, builds cases for prosecution and refers licensed and registered professionals to the State for discipline. DOBs Electrical Unit first discovered Spallino, owner of the Bronx-based Maximum Electrical Contracting Corp., and his employees used the pieces of carved wood at 37 West 24th Street, creating a serious fire safety hazard at the 21-story building. After further investigation, Electrical Inspectors found similar work at four nearby hotel construction sites. The wooden fakes were found at the Garden Chelsea Hotel at 37 W. 24th St., the Holiday Inn NYC at 125 W. 26th St., the Four Points by Sheraton Midtown Hotel at 326 W. 40th St., the Fairfield Inn at 330 W. 40th St., and a fifth hotel under construction on West 36th Street. They have all been replaced. Inspectors stopped work immediately at each location and required the property owners to install the metal collars and hire a licensed engineer to test the integrity of the cables. All of the work has since been corrected. As a result of the inspections, Department attorneys filed administrative charges against Spallino, which led to a one-year license suspension and the $100,000 fine. For the next eight months, Spallino will be on a probationary period to complete any active projects and correct any open violations before his license suspension takes effect. All of his work will be closely monitored by the Department. Following the year-long suspension, he will enter a two-year probationary period during which all of his work will be subject to Department review. The personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims, including for workers injured at construction sites. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. To learn more, watch our videos.