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James Lomma, Crane Owner, To Go On Trial In Deadly NYC Collapse

Crane Collapse New York

JENNIFER PELTZ   02/21/12 07:52 AM ET  AP

NEW YORK — A construction crane owner whose rig collapsed and killed two workers in New York City is poised to go on trial in the only criminal case stemming from the disaster.

Opening arguments were set for Tuesday in James Lomma's manslaughter trial.

Crane operator Donald C. Leo and fellow worker Ramadan Kurtaj were killed in the May 2008 collapse on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Prosecutors say Lomma pinched pennies on a crucial repair job that failed and caused the collapse. They say he failed to take steps to ensure the repair was sound.

Lomma's lawyers say he acted responsibly in getting the repair done. And in court documents, they say expert witnesses have concluded the crane fell apart because it was pulled up too high, not because the repaired part failed.

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Filed by Jonah Green  |