Zurik: IG recommends felony charge for city inspector who failed to visit Hard Rock site
District attorney calls inspector general’s report ‘incomplete’
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A report suggests criminal charges should be filed in relation to a city inspector’s work connected to the Hard Rock Hotel construction site that collapsed in 2019, killing three workers.
The report by the New Orleans Office of Inspector General found former senior city building inspector Julie Tweeter could be in violation of a law regarding filing or maintaining false public records and malfeasance in office.
In February 2020, FOX 8 uncovered how Tweeter and two other inspectors, Eric Treadaway and Thomas Dwyer likely did not inspect the Hard Rock Hotel site on numerous occasions.
Our Inspecting the Inspectors reports analyzed months of logs of GPS units attached to the city vehicles of the inspectors and found that their vehicles did not come close to the construction site in the Central Business District on several instances.
The IG’s report, which has been handed over to the Orleans Parish District Attorney, alleges Tweeter filed or maintained false records connected to inspections on eight separate dates.
In the report, the IG stated Tweeter uploaded eight inspection reports with the notation “PASSED” in the city’s computer system “during which she was not physically present on-site to conduct the inspection according to the GPS derived location records for her vehicle or pool vehicle she was driving.”
The IG’s office said they also verified the information from daily logs kept by Citadel Builders on the construction site.
READ THE INSPECTOR GENERAL’S REPORT
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The IG’s findings on Tweeter are now in the hands of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office to decide whether to bring charges against the city inspector. No reports have been handed over regarding the work of any other city inspectors, including Dwyer and Treadaway.
Eighteen months after the first Inspecting the Inspectors report aired on FOX 8, the IG’s work seems to frustrate District Attorney Jason Williams.
On July 2, Williams inquired about the progress of the IG’s investigation and said at that time they “do not have a single document from any agency related to the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel.”
The office also stated in the letter they were in “desperate” need of OSHA’s final report at the time of the letter.
In a statement Monday night, the district attorney called the IG’s report ‘incomplete.’
- City inspectors approved work at the Hard Rock Hotel site, but GPS shows they were not there
- City inspector signed off on Hard Rock Hotel work without proper certification
- FOX 8 investigation discovers additional discrepancies with more city inspectors at Hard Rock Hotel site
- Third city inspector likely did not visit Hard Rock site when he signed off on work
- Two Safety and Permits Inspectors placed on emergency suspension following FOX 8 Investigation
- Additional discrepancies found in suspended building inspector’s past work
- Zurik: City to demote Safety and Permits Director following discrepancies by department’s inspectors
- Zurik: City inspectors under investigation dodge pre-termination hearings with resignation and retirements
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