Buildings’ suspension of license pending criminal trial overturned by OATH. On October 29, 2008, Testwell Laboratories, a licensed concrete testing laboratory, and V. Reddy Kancharla, a licensed site safety manager, were indicted on charges of enterprise corruption, grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and falsifying business records. The next day, the Department of Buildings imposed pre-hearing suspensions on both, claiming that their conduct created imminent jeopardy to the public safety. Subsequently, Buildings filed a petition to suspend Testwell and Kancharla’s licenses, participation in the self-certification program, and professional filing privileges until the criminal case was resolved. Buildings claimed that Testwell and Kancharla violated the construction code by making materially false statements, participating in fraudulent dealings, and demonstrating negligence, incompetence, or disregard of the code. Buildings submitted only the indictment as evidence for the suspensions.
OATH ALJ Tynia Richard dismissed the charges, ruling that an indictment was not grounds for license suspension under the construction code and could not be considered evidence to prove the allegations. Even if considered evidence, the indictment could not provide the standard of proof required at OATH for license suspensions. Finally, Richard found that Buildings was authorized to suspend licenses and self-certification privileges prior to a hearing for no more than five days provided there was a finding of imminent jeopardy. Buildings was not authorized, however, to suspend the professional filing privileges without a hearing.
DOB v. Testwell Lab., OATH Index Nos. 1374/09, 1375/09 (Dec. 2, 2008). CITYADMIN