For Immediate Release
September 30, 2015
DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS REVOKES REGISTRATION OF GENERAL CONTRACTOR OWING MORE THAN $600,000 IN UNPAID VIOLATIONS
First Ever: Contractor Registration Revoked for Repeated Failure to Pay Fines
Department Cracking Down on Licensees that Ignore Violations and Allow Unsafe Work Sites
Following upon recent unprecedented disciplinary action taken by the Department of Buildings in the suspension of the registration of the general contracting company Harco, Inc. for accruing an extensive dangerous violation history, the Department moved this month to revoke the registration and active work permits held by general contracting company MRMD NY Corp (MRMD) and its principal. Enhanced disciplinary action against construction professionals that abuse the New York City Construction Codes is a key priority outlined in the Department's strategic Building One City initiative. This disciplinary action is part of an overall strategy of imposing greater accountability and integrity within the construction industry.
The Department of Buildings makes every effort to work with its sister agencies to promote safety at construction sites through enforcement of the Construction Codes and Department rules. In November 2014, the New York City Law Department, in coordination with the Department of Buildings, entered into an agreement with MRMD and its principal Michelle San Miguel in which they would pay outstanding penalties from accrued violations totaling $868,325, and properly supervise all construction sites where they hold work permits.
MRMD continued to allow serious safety violations to exist at its work sites and currently has the most violations issued of any registered general contractor. As of August 31, 2015, MRMD owed over $600,000 in ECB penalties above and beyond the violations encompassed in the November 2014 agreement. On September 25, 2015, the Law Department declared MRMD and Ms. San Miguel in default of the November 2014 agreement.
The breach of agreement by MRMD and Ms. San Miguel provided the Department of Buildings the option to permanently revoke Ms. San Miguel's general contractor registrations. The Department of Buildings determined that revocation is the most appropriate disciplinary action given the contractor's conduct and history. In addition to the revocation of their general contractor registration, MRMD and Ms. San Miguel will no longer be able to perform specialized concrete or demolition work through their safety registration endorsements. The Department is proceeding to revoke permits on existing jobs until such time as a new contractor can be placed on current active sites. In total, there are 486 work permits at 433 sites that will be subject to revocation by the Department.
"This case should once again remind construction professionals that the Department will not tolerate any abuse of the Construction Codes at the expense of worksite or public safety," said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. "This Department will continue to take aggressive disciplinary action against the licenses of any construction professionals that ignore their legal obligations."
Under the City's Administrative Code the Department is granted a wide array of disciplinary enforcement actions for construction professionals who fail to comply with the City's Construction Codes and the various other laws the agency is tasked with enforcing. In addition to the issuance of violations, the Department can place stop work orders on jobs, assess civil penalties, suspend and revoke licenses and where necessary, refer cases to criminal enforcement agencies for prosecution.
"Construction workers deserve a safe environment to do their job, but it's hard to provide that when bad-acting contractors aren't being held fully accountable. I applaud the Department of Buildings for cracking down on those who abuse our City's Construction Codes, which will ensure that our current construction boom doesn't occur at the expense of those building it. As Chair of the Council's Housing and Buildings Committee, I look forward working with the Administration to build on today's announcement and improve the safety and security of all New Yorkers," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader.
"REBNY supports DOB's actions to enforce greater accountability and integrity within the construction industry," said John H. Banks, III, President of The Real Estate Board of New York. "Today's announcement will lead to safer construction sites and send an important message that repeated failure to pay fines or ignoring violations will not be tolerated."