Michael Weiss, owner of two Brooklyn construction companies, has been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide after a wall collapsed killing an 18-year-old laborer and injuring two others. Authories say Weiss ignored complaints about the poorly maintained retaining wall prior to its collapse.
Weiss was also accused of reckless endangerment, assault, grand larceny, tax fraud and falsifying business records. He has plead not guilty to all charges.
According to the indictment, Weiss ordered several employees to do excavation work in an area where they had not received permission from city building officials to work. He also did not provide materials to shore up an exposed wall of a building adjacent to the site. A wall of the adjacent building ended up giving way causing the death of one laborer and injuring two others.
Eric Gonzalez, the acting Brooklyn district attorney, also says Mr. Weiss was not a licensed builder and used the license of an unnamed co-conspirator to get the city to approve the project.