NY Post - December 24, 2008by CHUCK BENNETT
City and state officials are not yet off the hook in the Deutsche Bank blaze that killed two firefighters and exposed a litany of failures by government safety regulators. The families of fallen firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino Jr. will push forward with a multimillion-dollar wrongful-death claim next year as the grand jury probe winds down, said John Meringolo, a lawyer for the Graffagnino family.
"We are going to try to depose everyone from city officials to [chairman] Avi [Schick] from the [Lower Manhattan Development Corp.]," said Meringolo.
Mayor Bloomberg also said that he will order an internal investigation into the events leading up to the Aug. 18, 2007, blaze.
"We will conduct our own investigation to decide what if any disciplinary measures are warranted," he said. "But you can rest assured that we have spent the last 16 months making the changes that we think were needed."
Schick, chairman of the LMDC, the state agency in charge of the demolition project, declined to comment.
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and former Buildings Department Commissioner Patricia Lancaster already testified in front of the grand jury.
Now they along with other officials could be forced to sit for lengthy depositions to answer how the mob-linked John Galt Corp. was allowed on the job and why the condemned building was never properly inspected.
Three construction supervisors and the subcontractor firm, the John Galt Corp., were indicted on criminal manslaughter charges by a Manhattan grand jury Monday for allegedly removing the building's standpipe which left the firefighters without water.
Additional reporting by Murray Weiss