Construction company owner faces charges in 2015 collapse

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Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Wednesday that the owner of a construction company whose worker died in a 2015 worksite collapse is facing charges. Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Wednesday that the owner of a construction company whose worker died in a 2015 worksite collapse is facing charges.
BROOKLYN -

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Wednesday that the owner of a construction company whose worker died in a 2015 worksite collapse is facing charges.

The incident happened in September 2015 at 656 Myrtle Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Plans for a five-story, mixed-use building have yet to get off the ground following a wall collapse that killed 18-year-old Fernando Vanegaz and injured two others. The lot remains empty.

Michael Weiss, owner of the construction company involved, is now facing a number of charges, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

A city investigation found that workers repeatedly voiced concerns to Weiss about the wall's integrity and requested materials to shore it up. But Weiss allegedly refused to heed their concerns and even insisted that they work faster.

Officials say Weiss did not have the appropriate licenses to apply for permits allowing work to continue, so he paid off another person with the right credentials to sign off on it. He is also accused of instructing workers to excavate beyond the area approved by the city, which eventually led to the wall collapse.

The identity of that co-conspirator with whom Weiss worked has not been revealed, but he will also be charged in the case.

Weiss was arraigned Wednesday on a 14-count indictment and is due back in court in August. If convicted on the most serious charge, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

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