The citywide concrete crackdown continued yesterday as jurors delivered a guilty verdict against Testwell Laboratories and its owner, V. Reddy Kancharla, who were accused of falsifying concrete test reports for a range of high-profile projects including Yankee Stadium and the Freedom Tower. The question of whether Kancharla and his company committed the more serious charge of enterprise corruption, which carries a possible prison sentence of 25 years, is still being examined by the jury, according to the Times.
Testwell’s defense argued that the inaccuracies found in city-required concrete mix-design reports were nothing more than bookkeeping errors on their part. So far, none of the buildings that received fraudulent reports have been found to have structural concrete issues, but cosmetic cracks in pedestrian ramps at the new Yankee Stadium did require repair, and a lot of finger-pointing.
In addition to the enterprise corruption charge, jurors will consider whether Testwell ran a scheme to defraud its customers when it falsified paperwork. To be sure that fraud of this nature is less likely in the future, the DOB established its own Concrete Unit last fall. In addition to conducting surprise visits to construction sites throughout the city, the unit operates an independent testing laboratory that completes its own reports and audits test results of private testing facilities.
UPDATE: On February 24, Kancharla, Testwell vice president Vincent Barone, and the company itself were convicted of enterprise corruption. The Times reported that two days after last week’s guilty verdict, Kancharla was briefly hospitalized after a suicide attempt. The defendants’ sentencing hearing is planned for April 7.