Inspector General recommends charges against two more Hard Rock Hotel inspectors
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Office of Inspector General has recommended charges be filed against two additional city inspectors who likely did not physically inspect the Hard Rock Hotel construction site before its collapse. The multi-story construction site collapsed in October 2019, killing three workers on the site.
In reports handed over to the District Attorney’s Office, Interim Inspector General Edward Michel recommended charges be sought against Thomas Dwyer and Eric Treadaway for filing or maintaining false public records and malfeasance in office. The Inspector General had already recommended felony charges for former senior city inspector Julie Tweeter for filing or maintaining false records connected to inspections on eight separate dates.
FOX 8′s Inspecting the Inspectors reports in February 2020 were the first to expose the three inspectors signed off on city inspections, but their city vehicles were never at the site on the dates in question. Our investigation analyzed months of data from GPS devices equipped on city vehicles assigned to the inspectors that signed off on work at the Hard Rock Hotel site at 1031 Canal Street.
The Inspector General’s report on Thomas Dwyer mentions two inspection reports uploaded by the inspector to the city’s electronic system, noting a passed inspection on August 9, 2019. The I.G.’s report echoed what FOX 8 reported that Dwyer’s vehicle was “not physically present on site to conduct the inspection according to GPS derived location records for his vehicle.” The I.G. also obtained visitor log records from Citadel Builders, the project manager at the Hard Rock Hotel site, which also indicate Dwyer was not at the site on August 9, 2019.
INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON THOMAS DWYER
Our Inspecting the Inspectors series also investigated Eric Treadaway and his inspections at the 1031 Canal site, including a July 26, 2019 inspection that was logged as “PASSED” but GPS records reviewed by FOX 8 show the inspector was not at the site that day. Instead, GPS data from the city vehicle showed on that July day, Treadaway made a morning stop in Treme, then went to the Westbank, stopping at the University of Holy Cross, his home in Gretna and an Ochsner Clinic -- but not near the Hard Rock Hotel site.
The I.G.’s report also came to the same conclusion by reviewing the GPS data and “entries in the “lob Visitors/Inspections” section of the Citadel Builders Daily Logs regarding inspections also show that Treadaway was not physically present on site to conduct this inspection.”
All three inspectors either retired or resigned from their positions before any disciplinary hearings took place with the city.
The Inspector General’s reports on the three city inspectors has been turned over to District Attorney
Jason Williams to decide whether charges should be brought against the three inspectors.
INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON ERIC TREADAWAY
- City inspectors approved work at the Hard Rock Hotel site, but GPS shows they were not there
- City inspector signed off on Hard Rock Hotel work without proper certification
- FOX 8 investigation discovers additional discrepancies with more city inspectors at Hard Rock Hotel site
- Third city inspector likely did not visit Hard Rock site when he signed off on work
- Two Safety and Permits Inspectors placed on emergency suspension following FOX 8 Investigation
- Additional discrepancies found in suspended building inspector’s past work
- Zurik: City to demote Safety and Permits Director following discrepancies by department’s inspectors
- Zurik: City inspectors under investigation dodge pre-termination hearings with resignation and retirements
- Zurik: IG recommends felony charge for city inspector who failed to visit Hard Rock site
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