The owner of a Nassau County construction company has been charged with manslaughter after a wall he built in Bushwick collapsed on a 5-year-old girl and killed her, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced.
Nadeem Anwar, 46, of Valley Stream and his company, City Wide Construction and Renovations, Inc., also of Valley Stream are facing an indictment in which they are charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, second-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and second-degree falsifying business records.
The charges come after Alysson Pinto-Chaumana, 5, was killed when an outdoor wall at 444 Harman St. collapsed one her on August 29, 2019.
According to an investigation, Pinto-Chaumana was with her mother and several friends while they were visiting a friend at the three-story building in Bushwick. The group was outside waiting near the front door on an enclosed patio next to a 68” tall wall that fenced in the patio and had a base of heavy stone pillars topped with stone horizontal plates.
Suddenly, the pillars and a horizontal plate fell inward onto Alysson, crushing her skull and causing her death.
An investigation into the collapse determined that Anwar, a licensed contractor, who was hired to renovate the façade of the property and build the wall in September 2018 allegedly committed numerous violations of the New York City Building Code, Gonzalez said.
Although he was licensed as a contractor in Nassau County, he was not authorized to file for work permits with the NYC Department of Buildings and had another contractor file the application for the work on the façade, but not for building the wall. Anwar allegedly did not acquire a DOB permit to build a stone wall at 444 Harman Street, nor did he have a licensed engineer or architect conduct a post-construction analysis of the wall’s stability, as required.
According to DOB, a row of stone pillars must have at least one pillar every 48 inches with a steel reinforcing bar anchoring that pillar to the base. All of the pillars must also be secured to the base with an engineer-grade adhesive. The horizontal plates must be secured to the pillars with engineer-grade adhesive.
A DOB engineer who responded to the collapse allegedly observed there were no steel reinforcing bars in any of the pillars. He also determined there was no engineer-grade adhesive securing any of the wall’s component parts. Therefore, he said, the wall was highly unstable and held together mostly by its own weight and gravity, “an egregious violation of multiple provisions of the Building Code,” according to the investigation.
The engineer described the conditions as “imminently perilous to life.”
Gonzalez announced the charges with NYC Department of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber and NYC Department of Buildings Acting Commissioner Constadino “Gus” Sirakis, P.E.
“The wall that this defendant allegedly built was a disaster waiting to happen,” Gonzalez said.
“As a direct consequence of his alleged recklessness, the wall collapsed and caused the senseless death of a precious 5-year-old child. My heart is with the victim’s family, and we will now seek to hold this defendant accountable.” Anwar was released without bail and ordered to return to court on May 11, 2022.