Something very suspicious is going on in downtown New Orleans.
The city has been diligent in keeping the public updated through dozens of news conferences since the partial collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel. But one of the answers the public hasn't heard, is exactly how this happened.
“We ask again that people around please respect what’s going on there because it’s a difficult situation,” said NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell in a previous news conference.
City leaders haven’t talked details about the investigation in news conferences to this point. However, they say the investigation started on day one of the collapse. In a news conference five days after the partial collapse, city leaders announced how crews would be shifting from search and rescue to recovery operations. OSHA and NOPD have since launched their joint investigation.
“In that process we have allowed OSHA to access the building to do their assessments that’s needed by OSHA. We’ve also provided them with several NOPD body cams for example to make sure they’re equipped as best as possible to capture any information and data points that they deem necessary,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
FOX 8 filed a public records request for copies of those body cam videos and other data collected through that process. The city’s attorney responded to the request saying they did not have to disclose those videos and data citing a state statute that "they relate to pending or reasonably anticipated criminal litigation”.
The official in charge of all New Orleans building inspectors was one of two city employees suspended last week amid a broad federal probe of corruption allegations in his department, according to city records.
Larry Chan, who holds the title of "building official" and is in charge of inspecting and approving construction projects, was put on emergency suspension last week via a letter to him from Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montaño. The suspension was “based on an ongoing investigation into your involvement in the alleged illegal issuance of city permits," the letter said.
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