Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

UN's Skanka and Asbestos Consultant ATC Non-Compliant with Clear Air Act

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 16 -- As questions mount about the UN's procurement practices and the place of safety in its rehabilitation plans, it has emerged that the UN's asbestos consultant, ATC Environmental Inc., has been slapped with orders by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for non-compliance with Clear Air Act standards "regarding the proper handling and disposal of asbestos materials in demolition and renovation operations."

  The UN's general contractor Skanska also has had problems with asbestos, and is being sued for mishandling it in California, in a case just now changing venue. While some argue that criminal charges were dropped, that appears to only have been after a no-contest plea and the payment of a fine, and for testimony. Most relevantly, Skanska engaged in the contested conduct in order to cut corners and meet deadlines. How much more tempting, with in an immunity protected job for the UN?

    On April 7, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesperson's office to provide the name of the UN's asbestos consultant. Nothing was provided until, in connection with questions about another crime-plagued UN contractor, Petrocelli Electric, Inner City Press reiterated the question. ATC Environmental, the answer came back.

  The question is, how could the UN select a company being charged with asbestos and Clean Air Act non-compliance as its asbestos contractor?  Thursday, the UN Staff Union's two highest officials, speaking to the Press about the dangers posed by the UN's Capital Master Plan, noted that neither the UN nor its contractors can be sued, leading to even less accountability.

  The UN Staff Union, as Inner City Press reported yesterday morning and aske about at noon, has passed a resolution calling for a postponement of the relocation of UN staff to building which have not been risk-assessed. The Staff Union on Thursday said that only the building on 45th Street which houses the head of UN Security, David Veness, has been risk-assessed. They called for action against Veness and the head of New York UN Security, Bruno Henn.

At UN, plastic sheeting, Clean Air Act non-compliance not shown

   But they spoke also about the head of the Capital Master Plan Michael Adlerstein, noting that he gives assurances everything is fine when it is not.  Inner City Press has obtained a copy of Adlerstein's written response to the last Staff Union resolution, and puts it online here. As the CMP gets delayed and becomes surrounded by more questions, the pat assurances given to the Department of Management's Angela Kane and Catherine Pollard will be useful to return to. And we will stay on this topic.

From the UN's April 7 transcript:

Inner City Press: I just wanted to know if the Capital Master Plan or the UN has an asbestos consultant and who it is?

Spokesperson:  I have no idea.  I can ask for you, of course, who the asbestos consultant is.  The major reason for redoing this building is the, essentially the asbestos that we have in the walls, so…

Inner City Press: No.  I know.  I think it’s very responsible to remove the asbestos.  I just want to know who the consultant is.

Spokesperson:  I don’t have that information, but I can ask the Capital Master Plan for you.

  The response came six days later: ATC... Then from the April 15 transcript:

Inner City Press: the Staff Union has put out a report that the Security Service here has failed to do the security-risk analysis required, they say, by the General Assembly, of this building and of all the buildings to which people will be moved under the Capital Master Plan.  So they’re calling for a suspension of any transfer of staff to those buildings until the required, they say, security-risk analysis has been done.  Is the UN aware of their call?  Does it acknowledge that these assessments were required and weren’t done, and what’s their response?

Associate Spokesperson:  I’m not aware of the Staff Union motion.  However, I’d like to point out that we’ve been evaluating security as part of the Capital Master Plan project, and that also includes security in the swing space, and we’ll continue to evaluate that.

Inner City Press: They claim that there is some formal document that has been done in Geneva, Vienna, and every other place, but has not been done here, and they specifically say that the head of the local security here, Bruno Henn, is responsible for not doing it.

Associate Spokesperson:  I am not aware of those details.  The basic point is, however, that we do continue to look into security in all the UN premises, including the swing space premises.

  We'll see.

  Click here for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -