Investigation Leads to Arrest of Father and Son Engineers for Filing False Asbestos Reports

This past fall, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began investigating Mr. Gaspare Santoro, a New Jersey-based engineer, for signing off on the demolition of several asbestos-containing buildings at the Mount Manresa site in Fort Wadsworth. Now, both Mr. Gaspare Santoro and his son, Mr. Paul Santoro, have been arrested and charged with filing false reports related to asbestos abatement at the job site.

After asbestos was discovered in one of the buildings, the project overseers, Salvo Brothers – who hired the Santoros – were fined $67,400 in October. A joint investigation between the Department of Investigation (DOI), the Department of Buildings, and the DEP uncovered evidence that the Santoros were aware of the presence of asbestos but chose to move forward with the demolition anyway.

“These men violated the trust of the residents that live in the community surrounding the former Mount Manresa site by lying about the presence of asbestos, a deadly substance that has been known to cause cancer,” said District Attorney Daniel Donovan at a press conference. “Also possibly exposed to toxins were the workers who toiled in these buildings among the dangerous asbestos without proper protective gear,” he added.

Exposure to asbestos can be extremely hazardous to respiratory health; it is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer with a high mortality rate. Renovation and demolition projects involving the handling of asbestos need to be done by licensed contractors to ensure the toxin is safely and properly disposed of.

According to DOI Commissioner Mark Peters, the Santoros have been barred from filing any future jobs in the city of New York. “Construction-related crimes undermine New Yorkers’ safety and the integrity of the city’s regulations established to protect its citizens and the hardworking men and women working at this site,” Commissioner Peters said in explanation.

Mr. Gaspare Santoro has been charged with three counts of offering a false instrument for filing, while Mr. Paul Santoro is facing four counts of the same charge.

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