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.

mgrace@nydailynews.com

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

Member of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committe demand termination of cooperation with Ukraine

us-and-ukraine_flag

A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress Steve Stockman demanded the investigation of the facts of embezzlement of state funds by Ukrainian officials and statesmen. The document was forwarded to the Investigative Service of the Congress. The national bank of Ukraine, which had been ineffective in the placement of funds provided by the USA, became the main target of the congressmen’s concern. According to Stockman, the USA had already imposed sanctions against the former ministers and officials, total number of which is 18 persons.

Stockman also claimed that Ukrainian officials withdrew the money transferred from Washington offshore, having used Ukrainian banks and the investment companies owned by Ukrainian officials. Altogether Ukrainian officials had distributed a bit more than a billion USD. The congressman claimed that the specialized Investigating Service of the Congress ought to consider the facts proving the real scale of corruption in Ukraine and revise the prospects of granting more funds. In his opinion, American tax payers should not bear the burden of Ukrainian problems. In April of 2014 the parliament of the USA agreed to grant Ukraine with a credit amounting to 1 bln USD at 1.8 per cent per year, which was the cheapest credit in the history of Ukraine.

article1726

Poroshenko Bloc leading in Ukraine elections, 7 parties to enter Rada – exit polls

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko holds ballots at a polling station in Kiev (Mikhail Palinchak/ RIA Novosti)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko holds ballots at a polling station in Kiev (Mikhail Palinchak/ RIA Novosti)

RT news

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party is in the lead with over 22 percent of votes in the country’s Sunday parliamentary elections, exit polls say. Poroshenko’s bloc is closely followed by two other pro-Europe parties.

A total of seven political parties will be represented in Ukraine’s Parliament – Verkhovnaya Rada.

The Petro Poroshenko Bloc took a winning margin with 23 percent and is closely followed by the People’s Front party – led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk – which got over 21 percent, according to international exit polls.

We can say today that a third of voters supports the president’s course for carrying out reforms for entering the European Union,” said Yuriy Lutsenko, the leader of the Poroshenko Bloc.

After the exit polls were announced, Poroshenko thanked voters for their support and said that coalition talks will start on Monday.

In third place with 14 percent is the newly-formed Self-Help party led by Andrey Sadovuy, the mayor of the major western Ukrainian city of Lvov. Next is the Opposition Bloc headed by former deputy prime ministerYury Boyko with over 7 percent, according to the polls.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party is in the lead with over 22 percent of votes in the country’s Sunday parliamentary elections, exit polls say. Poroshenko’s bloc is closely followed by two other pro-Europe parties. A total of seven political parties will be represented in Ukraine’s Parliament – Verkhovnaya Rada. The Petro Poroshenko Bloc took a winning margin with 23 percent and is closely followed by the People's Front party - led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk - which got over 21 percent, according to international exit polls. "We can say today that a third of voters supports the president's course for carrying out reforms for entering the European Union," said Yuriy Lutsenko, the leader of the Poroshenko Bloc. After the exit polls were announced, Poroshenko thanked voters for their support and said that coalition talks will start on Monday. In third place with 14 percent is the newly-formed Self-Help party led by Andrey Sadovuy, the mayor of the major western Ukrainian city of Lvov. Next is the Opposition Bloc headed by former deputy prime minister Yury Boyko with over 7 percent, according to the polls.

 

The Radical Party lead by nationalist Oleg Lyashko took fifth place in preliminary polls with over 6 percent, and was followed by far-right Svoboda (Freedom) party with less than 6 percent.

The least votes – over 5 percent – were given to the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), currently led by Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is calling for a national referendum on Ukraine joining NATO and imposing sanctions against Russia.

It is no surprise that the three major pro-EU parties would secure the most votes in the Rada elections. However, the unexpected turn is the high percentage of the Opposition Bloc which is linked with the allies of the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.

The international exit poll was conducted by the joint forces of the Canadian government, the Sociological Group “Rating” (Ukraine), Baltic Surveys (The Gallup Organisation) with the support of the International Republican Institute (IRI).

The Ukrainians voted Sunday to choose from a total of 29 political parties. A party has to pass the threshold of five percent in order to be represented in the Rada. Half of the seats in the 450 member parliament will be filled by the leading blocs, while the other half will be filled by candidates running in single-member constituencies.

However, voting did not take place in the eastern part of the country in the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Authorities of these regions stated they would not go to the polls and plan to hold elections of their own heads and parliaments on November 2.

Russia has supported the eastern republics saying it will accept the results of both elections.

“It’s now necessary to support fledgling ties between Kiev and the People’s Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk and then to start a comprehensive political dialogue with the purpose of finding ways for reaching national accord and conducting constitutional reform with the participation of all regions and political forces,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Verdens Gang (VG) Norwegian newspaper on Saturday.

The Human Cost of the FIFA World Cup

By T. J. Petrowski
Global Research, July 05, 2014

Region: Latin America & Caribbean
Theme: Police State & Civil Rights, Poverty & Social Inequality

brazilAs the world watches the 2014 FIFA World Cup, people are protesting the cost and the human rights violations being committed by police and security forces to protect this corporate investment.

Working people in Brazil are understandably frustrated with the public cost of the World Cup, an estimated $14 billion. When compared to spending on social services, the cost of the World Cup is the equivalent of 61% of funding for education, or 30% of the funding for healthcare. Private companies, including those in the services and construction industries, will be the main beneficiaries of this public money. Adding to this cost is the forced evictions of the poor living in the favelas (slums) and the dispossession of indigenous people from their lands to build stadiums and parking lots. [1]

Over one million people in Brazil have protested the cost of the World Cup, the cutbacks and increased costs of social services, forced evictions, and other human rights violations.

The state security services have cracked down viciously on all anti‑FIFA demonstrations across the country. At least a dozen or more people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested. On the first day of the World Cup, 47 people were arrested, and police shot rubber bullets at medics helping the wounded. The state security services have been accused of killing of the poor and homeless, including children, to “clean up” the favelas prior to the start of the World Cup. To justify this violent response, the federal government has pushed to pass legislation that would criminalize all anti‑FIFA protests as “terrorism”, with 12 to 30 year prison sentences for those convicted. [2]

The state has deployed more than 200,000 troops, armed with such weapons as Israeli drones, German anti‑aircraft tanks, and rooftop missile defense systems, to protect the World Cup from protestors. The infamous American mercenary company, Blackwater, known for its role in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, is allegedly in Brazil helping with security for the World Cup.

The financial and social cost of events like the World Cup and the Olympics to working people are enormous.

During the London 2012 Olympics, 10,000 police officers and 13,000 troops, more than all British forces in Afghanistan, along with ships in the Thames, fighter jets, and surface‑to‑air missile defense systems, were deployed to protect the $11 billion event. At a time when 2 million are unemployed, 27% of children live in poverty, and austerity budgets are being forced on working people, $11 billion came at a significant cost to working people. [3]

The Sochi Winter Olympics cost a staggering $51 billion, even though 18 million Russians live in poverty and migrant workers were paid less than $2/hour to build the necessary infrastructure.

In 2022 Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup, and already hundreds of migrant workers have died working on the World Cup infrastructure. Over 400 Nepalese and 700 Indian workers have been have are already among the casualties. The conditions migrant workers are forced to work in have been compared to slavery. Robert Booth for the Guardian explains: “Workers described forced labour in 50C (122F) heat, employers who retain salaries for several months and passports making it impossible for them to leave and being denied free drinking water. The investigation found sickness is endemic among workers living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions and hunger has been reported. Thirty Nepalese construction workers took refuge in the their country’s embassy and subsequently left the country, after they claimed they received no pay.” The International Trade Union Confederation estimates that 12 workers will die each week and around 4,000 will have died before the event starts. [4]

The social and financial cost of these international corporate events should be fought by working people around the world at a time where millions are being forced into unemployment and are denied their basic needs, democracy is being eroded, the environment is being destroyed, and the threat of war is increasing.

Note

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2014/06/11/bringing-fifa-to-brazil-equal-to-roughly-61-of-education-budget/

[2] http://revolution-news.com/the-story-of-resistance-to-fifas-war-on-brazilian-people-video-blog/

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/mar/12/london-olympics-security-lockdown-london

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/26/qatar-world-cup-migrant-workers-dead