Michael Weiss was indicted Wednesday on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide after the Brooklyn construction honcho’s failure to ensure safe conditions led to the death of one of his workers.
Fernando Vanegaz died while helping with a demolition on Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant - Weiss’s RSBY NY Builders firm was looking to redevelop the site and had to knock down what remained of a shuttered fruit store.
According to prosecutors, Weiss ignored pleas from workers about safety conditions on the property and refused to provide materials to reinforce unsteady structures, leading to Vega’s death and the injury of two others when a wall collapsed on them.
“Fernando Vanegaz should be alive today,” wrote in a statement Brooklyn’s acting district attorney Eric Gonzalez. “Construction site deaths such as his are becoming all too common as builders ignore safety protocols and hire untrained workers to maximize profits.”
Gonzalez’s office also names Weiss’s construction firm as a defendant in the manslaughter case - a fairly rare practice. Safety concerns have mounted during New York City’s real estate boom, with rates of hideous, and sometimes fatal accidents climbing.