Collapse contractor's lawyer: 'I'm issuing subpoenas to everybody'

LINDA ROSIER / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Richard Basciano, whose company owned the building that collapsed onto the thrift store, is among those likely to be subpoenaed by the lawyer of demolition contractor Griffin Campbell.
LINDA ROSIER / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Richard Basciano, whose company owned the building that collapsed onto the thrift store, is among those likely to be subpoenaed by the lawyer of demolition contractor Griffin Campbell.
Posted: June 06, 2014

THE TRIAL for demolition contractor Griffin Campbell and excavator operator Sean Benschop could be a public-relations nightmare for city government.

"I'm issuing subpoenas to everybody," Campbell's attorney, William Hobson, said this week.

That includes Department of Licenses & Inspections commissioner Carlton Williams, Deputy Mayor and Commerce Director Alan Greenberger and real-estate developer Richard Basciano, whose STB Investments Corp. owned the building that collapsed onto the adjoining Salvation Army thrift shop.

Emails show that Basciano's property manager had notified Greenberger of potentially dangerous conditions at the site, due to the Salvation Army's refusing to negotiate safety arrangements. Mayor Nutter's administration had initially refused to release those emails and other relevant records after the collapse but reversed course in July.

Hobson said he does not expect the ongoing grand-jury investigation to result in additional criminal charges, but if the probe is still underway when the trial begins, potential witnesses could invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. That could prevent the defendants from receiving a fair trial, he said.

Benschop, 43, and Campbell, 50, are charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and related offenses. Plato Marinakos, the architect who got the demolition permit, has been granted immunity. No one else has been charged.

"If you want to hold Griffin Campbell criminally accountable for what may be, at most, negligent action, then guess what? You can add L&I, Basciano, the deputy mayor, STB and that weasel, that Judas, that snake in the grass, Plato," Hobson said. "If anyone is supposed to be saying, 'Here's a safe way to take it down,' he's an architect!"


On Twitter: @wbender99

Blog: ph.ly/DailyDelco

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