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2 indicted in deadly NYC crane collapse

Associated Press / March 9, 2010

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NEW YORK - A crane company owner was indicted on manslaughter and other charges stemming from the collapse of one of his 200-foot rigs that killed two workers in 2008, prosecutors said yesterday.

The indictment names James Lomma and two of his companies, New York Crane & Equipment Corp. and J.F. Lomma Inc. Tibor Varganyi, a former mechanic with New York Crane & Equipment, was also indicted.

At their arraignment in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included criminally negligent homicide, assault, and reckless endangerment.

Lomma was given a week to pay $100,000 cash bail and was released. Varganyi was released without bail. Their next court appearance was scheduled for April 6.

Both men and their lawyers declined to comment.

“What occurred here was an accident - a tragedy and not a crime,’’ Paul Shechtman, attorney for the companies, said outside court.

The top of the giant crane snapped and crashed onto a Manhattan apartment building in May 2008. It happened a little more than two months after another crane collapsed elsewhere in Manhattan and killed seven people.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the indictments were expected to end his office’s investigations into the crane collapses. He said the company wanted the crane repaired quickly to keep it generating income from construction contractors who rented the equipment.