A recent New York Times article examined the case of a New York City safety inspector who submitted hundreds of phony reports regarding the asbestos and lead risks present in city buildings.
The article reports that Saverio Todaro, 68, falsified clean lead and asbestos results for over 200 locations throughout the city for over ten years. Many of these buildings and apartments have already been demolished or renovated, allowing for an affordable housing program sponsored by NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s administration.
The ongoing investigation aims to uncover whether Mr. Todaro accepted bribes to save building owners’ money on asbestos removal costs or whether he acted alone. Mr. Todaro has admitted to never performing the tests in question on buildings that have since been torn down or renovated. This information has upset former workers, tenants, and neighbors concerned that those buildings may have contained lead or asbestos, which is known to cause the deadly malignant mesothelioma cancer.
These potential exposure victims are right to be worried as mesothelioma is one of the most rare and aggressive cancers. The average life expectancy of mesothelioma victims is around one year post-diagnosis. Because many of the asbestos manufacturers were aware of the hazardous nature of their product yet hid the information, asbestos attorneys can often make exposure victims over a million dollars per mesothelioma settlement.
Speculation continues that Mr. Todaro may have been taking bribes for the falsified inspection reports. Building owners would have saved significant sums of money on the deleading and asbestos removal costs which should only be done by certified professionals. Authorities blame much of the problem on communication gaps between the state’s environmental agencies.
For instance, Mr. Todaro’s license for the city’s environmental agency was revoked in 2004, but they failed to notify the organizations for which he did asbestos inspections. As the investigation unfolds, details can be followed on the state mandated victims website found here.