More charges hit architect

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city has expanded its investigation of prolific Brooklyn architect Robert Scarano to include a charge of negligence involving the death of a construction worker last year.

Worker Anthony Duncan was killed when a one-story garage wall collapsed during a routine excavation at a building on Ocean Parkway in Kensington designed by Scarano.

The latest charges, filed by the Department of Buildings last month, contend that Scarano failed to guarantee safe construction and insure the stability of neighboring structures, like the garage wall that toppled on Duncan.

The Department of Buildings also charged Scarano with negligence at three job sites in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan, where excavations overseen by the architect left adjacent dwellings “structurally unsound.”

If the DOB wins, the architect will lose his ability to “self-certify” his designs, the coveted right to sign off on building plans without city review.

As reported in The Brooklyn Papers, the DOB filed a first round of charges against Scarano in February, accusing him of certifying 17 designs that are larger than current zoning law allows.

The new papers concentrate on violations that threaten “public safety and welfare.”

Scarano declined to comment on the latest charges. In an earlier interview with The Brooklyn Papers, he blamed the earlier charges on chatty rivals who urged the city to investigate him as a way of slowing him down.

“Not to sound egotistical, but it’s jealously,” he said at the time.

“We’ve changed the face of what Brooklyn buildings look like. With change comes resistance.”

Scarano is right that the charges could slow him down. Losing his privilege of self-certification — a common accreditation that speeds up the building process and saves money for developers and the city — would dull his competitive edge, experts said.

An administrative trial is scheduled for July 12.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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