Former New Orleans building inspector under fire for alleged role in Hard Rock Hotel collapse
NEW ORLEANS - When New Orleans' Hard Rock Hotel collapsed in October of 2019, it killed three people and left 18 others injured.
Nearly two years later, a former city building inspector who was responsible for ensuring that the location met safety requirements may soon be facing felony charges.
According to WWL-TV, the New Orleans inspector general’s office is recommending felony charges against former city building inspector Julie Tweeter.
Officials allege Tweeter shirked her responsibilities by not going to the Hard Rock construction site when she should have and they say she then falsified inspection reports to make it look as though she'd appeared on site.
An investigative report features GPS data from Tweeter’s city vehicle as well as daily logs from the construction project’s superintendent, both of these indicating she didn't go to the construction site at least eight times her inspection reports claim she did.
In some cases, Tweeter filed inspection reports on days when notes from the project's superintendent say, "no city inspector for pour" or "sent pictures to city inspector for pour."
If Tweeter did not appear on-site during those occasions, this would have been out of harmony with city policy, which states that inspectors must appear in-person to perform inspections.
The inspector general's report suggests charging Tweeter with felony counts of filing false public records and malfeasance in office for each of the eight occurrences.
But Tweeter's attorney, Herb Larson, maintains that she's innocent.
According to WWL-TV, Larson stated that he'd like to see the report before commenting, but said, “I’ve not seen anything that she’s done that would justify prosecution in any way.”
District Attorney Jason Williams addressed the situation by alluding to the gravity of the deadly incident and indicating he'd rather investigate the entire situation instead of the questionable actions of one civil servant.
Williams said, “A building falling down and killing people and injuring others on Canal Street is a much larger issue than one employee at City Hall.”
“We are not going to let it rest on a city employee alone if there are people who made money because corners were cut. This should not have happened.”
The three people who were killed in the hotel's collapse were identified as Anthony Floyd Magrette, Jose Ponce Arreola, and Quinnyon Wimberly.
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