No Jail for Mechanic in Deadly NYC Crane Collapse
According to a Associated Press Release the only person to admit to a crime in either of two deadly 2008 construction crane collapses was spared jail Tuesday according to the plea deal two slain men's relatives scorned as an injustice.
Under plea deal, Mechanic Tibor Varganyi, who pleaded guilty and testified against his boss, was sentenced to a year of community service for his role in a May 2008 crane collapse that killed two workers. Prosecutors had agreed to the sentence to get Varganyi's help making the case against his boss, James Lomma. Lomma was acquited in April which outraged the families of the deceased. After his sentencing Varganyi turned toward the families to apologize. "I'm so sorry for the loss of your loved ones," he said. "... I did not mean to hurt anyone."
Relatives asked the Judge to depart from the Plea agreement and sentence Varganyi to jail time but the judge who handled Varganyi's case, Justice Thomas Farber, said he understood the Leo and Kurtaj families' frustrations but would honor the promise made to Varganyi. "It's the way our system works," Farber said.
The men died two months after another crane toppled onto a block near the United Nations headquarters, killing six workers and a Florida tourist. The collapses fueled new safety measures in New York and some other cities, as well as numerous lawsuits. But criminal trials in both accidents ended in acquittals, making Varganyi's guilty plea the only successful prosecution in either accident.