KSK’s Pursuit of Profits May Have Snared the Mayor in Their Web
The same non-union contractor responsible for the job site where Gregory Ecchevarria was killed is now embroiled in a possible money-skimming scheme with the mayor.
Gregory Ecchevarria, right, who was working for a subcontractor on a KSK Construction job site when he was killed in 2019. He was a 10-year war veteran getting on his feet back in New York. Mayor Eric Adams is now embroiled with KSK in what may be a money shell game.
Followers of this website will be shocked to hear that a New York City non-union construction company, KSK Construction, is at the center of the FBI’s investigation into apparent irregularities concerning Mayor Eric Adam’s election fund-raising machine.
The government says it is looking into whether KSK was used to funnel illegal Turkish-government contributions to Mr. Adams’ campaign in a straw-donor scheme, the New York Times reported. On November 2 the FBI raided the Crown Heights home of the mayor’s top fund-raising consultant, Brianna Suggs.
They also searched KSK’s Williamsburg offices looking into whether anyone at the company had taken kickbacks from the campaign.
So who is KSK?
KSK was the primary contractor running a condo construction project at 570 Broome Street in Manhattan in 2019. Gregory Ecchevarria, working for the non-union sub-contractor Cranes Express (a company that also has a problematic history of negligence and deaths), was crushed to death under a 7,500-lb crane counterweight on a night of torrential rain and high-velocity winds.
KSK is a non-union construction company with a past that is marked with lawsuits and the death of a worker.
A co-worker on the scene that night, David Pereira, testified during his deposition for the lawsuit that he and Mr. Echevarria pleaded with a Buildings Department inspector who was on site to shut the job down due to the awful weather. “I remember both of us asking him if there was any way for him to slow down or stop the job because of the weather conditions. He said that he didn’t know if he had any power to do that.” This conversation happened minutes before the accident.
In a video interview with Union Built Matters, Mr. Ecchevarria’s widow spoke with elegance about what happened that night of severe wind and rain and how no one should have been working in those conditions.
The family of Mr. Ecchevarria, a veteran with 10 years of decorated service in Iraq and Afghanistan, has sued a number of companies involved in the accident, including KSK, for negligence, failure to ensure scaffolding, pulleys and other construction tools, and demanded compensatory and punitive damages, per court records. The lawsuit is ongoing.
But that wasn’t KSK’s first time in court.
In 2017, KSK sued the Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler because they said they, KSK, had been fined $10,000 more than their sub-contractor for the same offense. The offense was for a failure to protect an adjoining balcony against fall protection. KSK claimed it and the subcontractor had “been subjected to an excessive fine that is duplicative and exceeds any possible culpability,” according to court records. It was an apparent Hail Mary to avoid paying a fine.
The KSK Construction office in Brooklyn. — Michael Dalton
KSK is also a deadbeat with its sub-contractors, if you believe the court record. In 2016, the engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, Inc filed a lawsuit stating that KSK owed them $178,000 in back billings for consulting services on a job in Prospect Heights. Tomassetti said their services were delivered, were accepted by KSK without complaint, and yet their invoices were ignored.
Many non-union contractors are in the construction business for the sole purpose of getting rich – and that pursuit leads some to make decisions based on the wrong motivators. Rather than doing quality work, or providing a living wage to middle class workers, or guaranteeing a safe work environment, they pursue only profit. We see the results of those pursuits in the wake of KSK’s actions. One company was stiffed, a man is dead. And now their involvement may do harm to the mayor’s standing — we can only guess how much.
New York is a union town. The mayor and his fund-raising team should know that.
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