Construction executives charged with perjury after workers’ deaths

©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier
Two managers with US company Atlantic Coast Utilities have been charged with perjury following the deaths of two of their workers in February.

Jordy Romero and Juan Gutierrez died after being hit by a Ford F750 dump truck and knocked into a 3m-deep trench.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and Boston Police Department determined the driver of the dump truck was not criminally liable for the men’s deaths, however in August, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration found that the victims had not been trained to recognise and avoid work-related hazards.

Prosecutors now allege that managers Laurence Moloney and Konstantinos Kollias made false statements in affidavits in order to secure permits for Atlantic Coast Utilities.

The perjury charge relates to the Mattocks-Higgins Affidavits of Workplace Safety submitted with the City of Boston, which were on file when Atlantic Coast Utilities secured permits work in Boston.

In 2019, Atlantic Coast Utilities’ owner Kevin Otto was convicted of manslaughter and found to have “willfully placed” the victims in danger by not using cave-in protection in the trench, and also lying and falsifying documents.

US Labour Secretary Marty Walsh said: “Two hardworking people lost their lives because Atlantic Coast Utilities put its own profits over workers’ safety and health.

“The failure of employers to follow federal safety and health regulations designed to keep workers out of harm’s way is absolutely unacceptable. This is yet another reminder of why the department’s mission to protect workers’ rights and ensure safe working conditions is so important.”

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