06 January 2009

Contractor Busted in Deutsche work Fraud.

Contractor Busted in Deutsche work Fraud.

A contractor charged with stealing $1.2 million from the Deutsche Bank demolition job was allowed to work there even as his mob-tied former employer was booted off the job.

Robert Chiarappa was one of only five employees of a mobbed-linked demolition firm that the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) allowed to keep working at the tower demolition, officials confirmed.

Chiarappa was arrested Tuesday on charges of submitting dozens of false bills to LMDC and an insurance company from September 2006 through October 2007.

The LMDC confirmed it did not check Chiarappa's background Tuesday. It turns out he was arrested in New Jersey in 1989 on grand larceny charges. The disposition of that case could not immediately be determined.

LMDC spokesman Mike Murphy said the agency checks the backgrounds of principals, owners and directors of its contractors - not lower-level employees like Chiarappa.

Murphy said the agency is "gratified" that prosecutors are cracking down on fraud.

Chiarappa wound up working at the Deutsche Bank tower in 2006 after LMDC was forced to replace his then-employer, Safeway Environmental, the demolition subcontractor at the tower.

Safeway was booted from the job after questions arose about its mob ties. Still, the LMDC let five Safeway employees - including Chiarappa - jump to a new firm hired to finish the demolition: the John Galt Corp.

At the time, the LMDC didn't tell the city Department of Investigation that Safeway employees were still working for Galt. When DOI found out, the agency warned the LMDC to get rid of Galt.

Two weeks ago, the John Galt Corp. and two Galt employees, Mitch Alvo and Salvatore DePaola, were indicted on manslaughter charges in the August 2007 fire at the skyscraper killed two firefighters during an inferno at the tower.

Prosecutors say while working for Galt, Chiarappa submitted fake and inflated bills for supplies used to remove asbestos from the site. Losses may rise to $2 million.

The probe found Chiarappa used the money to lease a Mercedes-Benz and BMW, take a vacation in Turks and Caicos, and buy jewelry.

"He had expensive tastes," Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.


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