The Yankees say they’ve had independent contractors check their concrete. (Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times)
As many builders do during big-ticket construction projects, the Yankees have kept an eye out on the quality of the materials used in the new Yankee Stadium. They’ve also managed to uncover some form of corruption, and in Saturday’s Times, a story about the concrete used in the stadium construction is plastered across the front page of the Old Grey Lady.
Testwell Laboraties Inc., the company hired to provide the Yankees and the Freedom Tower with concrete, is, according to William K. Rashbaum’s piece, under investigation for falsifying test results and flat-out omitting others. Rashbaum reports on the Manhattan prosecutor’s efforts:
The investigation has uncovered problems with tests the company conducted on concrete poured over the last two years at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and the foundation of the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, along with as many as a dozen other projects, said several of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
The investigation has also raised questions about past work done by the company, Testwell Laboratories Inc., at a wide range of sites around the city. Construction and inspection practices in the city are already under scrutiny as a result of a series of fatal accidents and arrests on corruption charges…
The investigation centers on allegations that the company in some instances failed to do preliminary tests, including some known as slump tests, and later falsified the results of more sophisticated compression tests, officials said. A building boom in the city, meanwhile, has fueled the demand for concrete — supplied by an industry that still bears the taint of decades of mob domination.
Ah, the mob. Nary a construction project goes through in New York without some allegation of mob involvement, and that’s why the Labor Racketeering Unit in the Manhattan D.A.’s office is on the case.
For their part, the Yankees say they’ve hired an oversight company to ensure Testwell’s materials are up to par, and in fact, this action brought about the city investigation. Per Rashbaum:
Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for the Yankees, said that a company hired by the team to monitor the stadium project, a common practice in large construction endeavors in an effort to uncover fraud and abuse, discovered problems with Testwell’s work and began its own internal investigation. The monitor, Ed Stier of Thacher Associates, took the information he developed about the tests to the authorities.
In the end, this is simply construction oversight by a city rather on edge following two fatal crane collapses in recent months, and I don’t blame them. The Yankees, hoping to get the most out of their $1.4 billion investment, are being cautious. Only the best for the House that George Built will suffice.