Troubled Contractor Rinaldi Group Resumes CitizenM Construction After City’s Work Halt Last Month

Posted on: December 24th, 2015 at 5:13 am by
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​The CitizenM project site on the Bowery reactivated last week after a city-enforced hiatus the prior month. Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order for the nineteen-story hotel in the beginning of November for unspecified safety issues. The magnitude of the infraction was hinted with verbiage that approvals and permits were revoked.

That didn’t happen, though. Three weeks later the job site is again active. So, what’s going on here? The answer is uptown.

You see, the city suspended reportedly the license of the Rinaldi Group last month after an investigation into the death of a construction worker at the Riu Hotel job site on West 46th Street. Christian Ginesi, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, was killed May 5 when he tried to evacuate a stalled elevator 24 flights up; he plunged to his death. As a result, permits were revoked and work halted at Rinaldi’s seventeen city sites.

For the record, Rinaldi blamed the accident on suicide. Here’s an excerpt from the Daily News:

Since August 2013, Rinaldi has been hit with 55 of the most serious citations, creating conditions that “pose a threat that severely affects life, health, safety, property, and the public interest.”

“Bad actors who think that violations and fines are simply the cost of doing business need to think again,” Chandler said.

Brad Gerstman, an attorney for Rinaldi, said the company will fight the agency’s ruling.

And fight they did, apparently. Somehow the contractor was able to squash the violations amassed and return to work. Indeed, the CitizenM superstructure is really starting to pass the plywood threshold, reaching roughly three stories in the northeast corner of the site. Meanwhile, neighbors tell us that oversight is pretty much nonexistent. Neither before the “revocation,” nor subsequent. Just look at the ECB violations attached to the project, which specify, among other things, an absence of the “safety manager” during construction hours.

This is who’s in charge of delivering an enormous tower to our neighborhood…

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How generic.

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