Concrete execs guilty of faking tests at Yankee Stadium and Freedom Tower

The Original Yankee Stadium

The Original Yankee Stadium

[Once Convicted, the media broke silence]

The owner of the city’s top concrete-testing firm was convicted Wednesday of faking tests at Yankee Stadium, the Freedom Tower and scores of hospitals and high-rises.

Reddy Kancharla – who built Testwell Laboratories into a $20million enterprise involved in virtually every major construction project in the city – faces 25years for the decade-long scam.

A Manhattan Supreme Court jury delivered a guilty verdict against Kancharla, Testwell Vice President Vincent Barone and the company itself after a week of deliberations.

The jury, which delivered verdicts on various counts in stages, had earlier acquitted the two men and the company of some lesser charges.

They also were convicted of dozens of other counts, including some that stemmed from falsified strength reports for the Second Ave. subway line.

“Testwell’s conduct was reprehensible … for its utter disregard for the safety of the public at large,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said.

A 50-count indictment listed 119 sites where Testwell faked results for tests that were never done or were performed improperly.

The city ordered retesting at the buildings, but only 22 of the 91 sites under the department’s jurisdiction have been retested and determined safe so far.

Kancharla’s lawyer, Paul Schechtman, said he will appeal.

Yankee Stadium Concrete Corruption Scandal

Yankee Stadium facade

Yankee Stadium facade

Finally indicted

A company that tested concrete for construction projects around New York City, including Yankee Stadium and the Freedom Tower skyscraper at ground zero, has been indicted along with its president and about a dozen other officials, a law enforcement official and attorneys said yesterday.

The main charges are said to be enterprise corruption, New York’s version of racketeering.

Testwell Laboratories was advised of the indictment seeking corruption charges, attorney Martin Adelman said. The company’s president, V. Reddy Kancharla, and other company officials are also named, he said.

Manhattan prosecutors have been investigating charges for months that Testwell falsified test results for projects or billed companies for tests it never did, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the indictment had not been released publicly.

The owners of the Freedom Tower and the Yankees said that concrete at their projects passed strength tests; the city has begun retesting concrete at various construction sites but has not announced its results.

“Testwell is disappointed that the district attorney’s office has decided to bring these charges,” Adelman said. “While we can not comment on the indictment because we haven’t seen it yet, the company intends to vigorously defend itself. The company looks forward to restoring its reputation and vindicating itself.”

Kancharla’s attorney, David Smith, said he was unaware of the exact charges against his client, but “whatever the charges may be, Mr. Kancharla will be entering a plea of not guilty and vigorously defending against them.”

A call seeking comment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was not returned Wednesday. The indictment was first reported Wednesday by The New York Times.

Adelman said prosecutors advised the company that it would need to appear in court on Thursday. Prosecutors also filed a temporary restraining order that prevents forfeiture of company property or assets.

The Yankees and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is building the Freedom Tower, declined comment Wednesday.

An independent monitor for the Yankees first noticed problems with Testwell’s work earlier this year and reported it to prosecutors. The monitor found that Testwell wasn’t doing simple tests in which concrete is poured in a bucket and turned over to test if it remains steady.

The Port Authority also noticed irregularities in some of Testwell’s results in early 2006, when construction began on the 1,776-foot skyscraper being built at the World Trade Center site, and also reported findings to prosecutors.

Monitors for both projects tested concrete monitored by Testwell and found it was of adequate strength.
Published at 10:56 PM EDT on Jul 16, 2009

Arms, Conflict, Corruption, Hillary Clinton, Law, Middle East, Military, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scandal, Security, USA

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds hands with her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton (Reuters / Jim Young)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds hands with her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton (Reuters / Jim Young)

As the Obama administration increased military weapons exports, Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved transfer of more than $300 billion worth of arms manufactured by US defense contractors to 20 nations that were or have since become donors of the Clinton Foundation, a major philanthropic organization run by the Clinton family. According to a review of available records of foundation donors by the International Business Times, those countries included governments that have received frequent criticism by the State Department for repressive policies.

“Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents,” IBT wrote.

‘Clinton is epitome of financial corruption’ – David Swanson

David Swanson is an author and long time political activist who is so passionate about restoring the constitutional role of the President that he actually wrote an entire book on it, “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union” and leads to this day the campaign to impeach Bush and Cheney. Mr. Swanson is not just unhappy with bad Republican behavior in the White House and we will get his views on Hillary Clinton’s decision to run for the presidency.

Algeria, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar were nations that directly donated to the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s term as secretary of state, even as they were requesting weapons shipments. The donated money represents a loophole in US law regarding political contributions.

“Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions — a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy,” IBT noted. “But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.”

The reviewed sales — both commercial and Pentagon-brokered — represent those made during “three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as secretary of state (from October 2010 to September 2012),” IBT reported. The deals made with the nations in question during this time add up to far more than arms agreements made with the same countries during the last three full fiscal years of George W. Bush’s administration, according to the report.

“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, told IBT. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”

The Clinton Foundation’s donor list has come under closer examination since Hillary Clinton announced she is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. In April, the Clintons acknowledged they have made “mistakes” regarding transparency amid increased public scrutiny concerning donations from foreign entities, especially when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, from 2009 to 2013.

Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton defended his family foundation’s donors.

“I don’t think there’s anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people in countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up,” Mr. Clinton told NBC News.

The Clinton Foundation signed a foreign donor disclosure agreement just before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, yet neither the department nor the White House raised issues with potential conflicts of interest regarding the weapons agreements.

IBT reported that in 1995 President Clinton signed a presidential policy directive demanding the State Department take into account human rights abuses when considering the approval of military equipment or arms purchases from US companies. Yet Mrs Clinton’s State Department ignored this stipulation, helping the Obama administration increase weapons transfers.

The State Department, under the aegis of Clinton, hammered the Algerian government in its 2010 Human Rights Report for “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association,” allowing “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.”

“That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country,” IBT reported. “The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as ‘toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment’ after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.

“During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria — nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year — a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.”

IBT also reported that major US weapons manufacturers and financial corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton lucrative speaking fees “reaching $625,000” just as arms deals they had an interest in were in the works with Mrs Clinton’s State Department.

Read more
Hillary Clinton: What to know about her recent controversies, scandals

Hillary Clinton had pledged during her Senate confirmation hearings in 2009 that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”

US weapons sales tripled in 2011 to a new yearly high of $66.3 billion, according to the New York Times, mostly driven by sales to Persian Gulf nations allied against Iran. This dollar total made up nearly 78 percent of all worldwide arms deals that year, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Reuters reported in January 2013 that the State Department office that has oversight of direct commercial arms sales “was on track to receive more than 85,000 license requests in 2012, a new record.”

The boom in arms sales by the Obama administration has continued to the present day, as Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are using American-made fighter jets against Islamic State and for proxy wars in places like Yemen and Syria.

According to the Times, foreign weapons sales now represent 25 percent to 30 percent of revenue taken in by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US-based arms dealers.

​Clinton Foundation admits ‘mistakes’ amid concerns of foreign donors 20