Rigger William Rapetti was acquitted in July of all criminal charges against him in connection with the deadly collapse of a tower crane in New York City on March 15, 2008. However, with both of his licenses taken away, he says it has been difficult “to get my life back.”
When he talked with ENR by telephone recently, Rapetti was waiting in his union hall because his rigging and crane operating licenses have been revoked by the city. Not having these credentials has forced him to turn down three jobs.
Only his rigging license was in play at the collapse, he says. The denial of his crane operating license is the same as if his driver’s license were revoked because “I drove to the job,” he says. Emphasizing his 30-year record and Ground Zero work, he adds, “I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been exonerated.”
Both of Rapetti’s criminal attorneys are helping him reinstate his licenses, he notes. But even if they convince the judge to rule in Rapetti’s favor, the city’s Dept. of Buildings commissioner, Robert LiMandri, has the final say over whether to grant the licenses; there is no legal avenue to appeal LiMandri’s decision. DOB did not comment by press time.
The city and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administrations have pinned the collapse on Rapetti since the beginning; even after his acquittal, the latter implied he was at fault in an Aug. 9 federal rule-making on cranes and derricks (see story, page 10). Rapetti faces numerous civil suits and up to $220,000 in OSHA fines, records show. “I know they’re going to try their best to continue to ruin me,” he says.