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Jan 14, 2009 12:27 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Attorney to investigate worker's death

Jan 14, 2009 12:27 PM

Family members of Facundo Gonzalez, the 33-year-old Farmingville construction worker who died on January 5 after he was pinned beneath a wall that collapsed at a work site in Southampton Village, have hired a law firm to investigate his death.

“We’ve been retained to look into the matter and determine whether or not there’s any liability or responsibility,” said Ricardo A. Garcia, a partner with Garcia & Karam, a law firm in McAllen, Texas, on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Southampton Village Police and Building Department continue to investigate the fatal accident and the conditions at the construction site at the corner of North Sea Road and Willow Street.

Mr. Gonzalez, who was buried in Mexico this week, was never married and had no children, Mr. Garcia said. He said the victim had been living on Long Island for the past 10 years with his brother, Cecilio, while his mother, Maria Luisa, remained in their home country of Mexico.

Police said the victim had lived in Farmingville, and Mr. Garcia said the circumstances of Mr. Gonzalez’s immigration to America were unclear at this time.

The law office of Garcia & Karam is in a town just 15 miles from the U.S. border with Mexico, and it is designated by the Mexican consulate for handling just this type of case that involves the severe injury or death of a laborer with family in Mexico, Mr. Garcia said.

The attorney said he is headed to Long Island this weekend for interviews regarding the accident and will retain a private investigator with experience examining construction site accidents.

Jon Foster, the village’s senior building inspector, said Monday that the Building Department issued summonses to Saldana’s Concrete Corporation, which Mr. Gonzalez was working for at the time, and Bérube & Son Construction, the contractor building a house at the accident site, for violating the New York State Building Code.

Citing an example, Mr. Foster said the foundation walls were just 8 inches thick, instead of the required 10 inches, and footings were 16 inches wide, rather than 24. There was also no steel to reinforce the concrete walls, he added.

Following investigation into the accident, the Building Department instructed Bérube to remove all of the foundation walls that had been installed at the construction site, Mr. Foster said.

“We want it ripped out completely,” he said. “Based upon what happened, we don’t trust anything that’s in the ground.”

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This is the second person buried in Mexico in the last couple of months. The last was the reckless driver. My post regarding that got deleted...I guess due to the fact that I asked whether the taxpayers in Mexico footed the bill. My issue is not with the individuals...but with taxes and accountability. If people continue to do things on the cheap (and this is not a poor part of the country) then we get what is coming to us thanks to our greed.
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on Jan 14, 09 1:24 PM
Why didn't anyone notice the problem with the footers and foundation before this man was needlessly killed?? Were the plans correct?? The contractor has had other projects in the Village. Were these done correctly??? Who knows??????
By evergreen (19), Southampton on Jan 14, 09 7:24 PM
If your issue is not with the individuals, why do you disrespect them? Its not what you say but how you say it that determines how people view you. Im just wondering when someone is going actually come up with a solution to this problems that is realistic. We cant send them all back it would be an impossible task. So what can we do? Who knows, it could become a non issue if the economy continues its downward trajectory. Hundreds of thousands of amercian citizens are out of work. That means ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jan 15, 09 10:53 AM
Hey Mr.Foster Keep Up the Good Work
By fdny7318 (60), Water Mill on Jan 15, 09 12:59 PM
Reminds me a little bit of My Cousin Vinny; is this lawyer admitted in New York???????????????????????????
By SamIAm (36), hampton bays on Jan 18, 09 9:48 AM