NYC sues construction company owner over $275,000 in unpaid fines, including one related to deadly scaffolding collapse

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Damage from scaffolding that fell onto Kathleen Haley Keating at the Brooklyn bar Mission Dolores. (Court Documents)
Damage from scaffolding that fell onto Kathleen Haley Keating at the Brooklyn bar Mission Dolores. (Court Documents originally published in NY Daily News)

The City of New York has filed a lawsuit claiming that a construction company’s owner is refusing to pay more than $275,000 in files.

Werize (run by Gazi Ali) allegedly received dozens of fines between 2018 and 2020 for failure to comply with city worksite guidelines, the New York Daily News reported on Jan. 24. “But Ali never showed up to any of the administrative trials over the violations, the city says in the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Monday,” the published report says.

Some of the violations were issued after a tragic scaffolding collapse at a Park Slope bar on June 30, 2019, that left Kathleen Keating, then a 32-year-old accountant, with permanent brain damage, the News says.

“Instead of fighting the violations or paying up, Ali disappeared after transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company to himself, leaving the business “insolvent” and unable to pay the debts back to the city, according to the lawsuit.”

“Werize made substantial distributions to its owner … that improperly drained Werize’s corporate funds, without retaining sufficient amounts to satisfy the expected and on-going obligations to the City of New York,” lawyers for the city wrote in court papers.

The Department of Buildings said that the scaffolding was not tied down to anything on the roof of a neighboring building on Fourth Ave. during strong winds, resulting in the metal beams falling into the Mission Dolores bar.

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