July 27, 2022
Elizabeth Crotty, Commissioner and Chair, Business Integrity Commission: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, Inspector General John Gay, District Attorney Melinda Katz, and everyone for being here today. I’d also like to thank all of the folks at the NYPD, the Queens DA’s office, the Port Authority Inspector General’s Office, and the BIC Enforcement Team who made this happen. This is government inter-agency work at its finest. Companies that want to work in the waste hauling industry in New York City need to have the required BIC license or registration in order to do that work. And as this case shows, we will take action when illegal hauling activity takes place. Companies that attempt to circumvent BIC’s regulations present both a corruption and a public safety risk to the city. It is also an injustice to the many companies who do the right thing and secure the required registration, as well as any other permits needed to do their work.
Commissioner Crotty: BIC will deny the application of a company when they lack good character, honesty and integrity. Over the past 20 years, BIC has made great progress in removing the influence of organized crime, corruption, and other forms of criminality from the industries we regulate. LMC Trucking was denied a registration in 2020, and continued to operate construction and demolition debris hauling business in defiance of that denial, resulting in this criminal action. The other companies involved also did not have a current BIC registration necessary to operate, and that is unacceptable.
Commissioner Crotty: It is our continual regulation that acts as a check on these industries. In the absence of proper regulation and enforcement, bad actors would once again flourish in the waste hauling industry, running companies that did not meet the required standards for safety and integrity. Companies that do not comply with the proper regulations cannot be allowed to operate unchecked, especially on projects that involve public funds, like this modernization project underway here at JFK Airport.
Commissioner Crotty: Additionally, with a reported estimate of $25 billion being invested at JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark over the next 10 years, it is imperative for all unlicensed, unregistered companies to understand they must comply with all local laws and regulations. Thank you again to everyone at the Port Authority IG’s office, Queens DA, and the BIC enforcement team for their work.
Commissioner Crotty: At BIC, our success comes from our ability to work with other city and state agencies that allow us to get stuff done for New York City. Ensuring public safety and public trust is key to BIC’s regulation and enforcement. The work goes right to the heart of the mayor’s agenda and the priorities of the Adams administration. And we welcome Mayor Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, Liz. It’s just really good to be here with District Attorney Katz. We served together as borough president and as we have our Assembly members join the company, you come join us on the stage. And the DA, even as the borough president was clear and focused on how do we do the right things with taxpayers’ dollars. And oftentimes when we talk about public safety and unlawful behavior, we think about those who are committing predatory crimes. But we’re going further than that, and that’s why the role of Commissioner Crotty and her team is so important. The Business Integrity Commission, it has a responsibility to look at these large projects. People often think when you’re spending $25 billion, that you’re going to take your eye off the ball, and it is able to have improper and unethical, in many cases, illegal activities. And no one is going to watch that. That is not why we presented a Business Integrity Unit. We’re going to ensure the integrity of our business community, particularly when it comes down to taxpayers dollars.
Mayor Adams: And so we’re here at JFK International Airport to announce this crackdown in illegal business practice in the trade waste industry. Three companies have been charged with unlawful waste hauling and construction work, as we modernize Terminal 4. And here at JFK and LaGuardia, we should really be proud of… We’re seeing our airports turn into first rate airports, but every dollar we save and identify that is not removed from the system due to corruption allows us to carry out this job accordingly. And so as Commissioner Crotty acknowledged, I too want to acknowledge the Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, DA Katz, the Business Integrity Unit, as well as the office of the Inspector General and our Port Authority coming together.
Mayor Adams: This is what happens when we come together, when we work together, we can stop the abuse of those who want to take taxpayers’ dollars. This is the A team, a municipal government, a collaboration of all who are involved to bring justice to the people of this city. And what is key to point out, there’s a reason that commercial waste haulers must have a BIC registration in order to operate. That is why it is there. For too long, commercial waste removal has been linked to corruption and organized crime. And in this case, LMC Trucking, that registration was denied and it was denied for a reason, but they thought they could circumvent that denial. They were wrong. LMC Trucking falsely represented who ran the business. They conducted trade waste related businesses with members of organized crime, defrauded a trade waste union by paying employees in cash and not paying union benefits. The trucking company decision to continue to operate despite having been denied BIC registration led to the arrest and charges.
Mayor Adams: We cannot allow commercial waste hauling to become a dirty business. We were there before, and we’re not going back there again. New Yorkers deserve a clean business practice in every industry. And my watch or under my watch and under the watch of this amazing District Attorney, we’re going to be sure that we get just that. If you break the laws, you’ll be caught, you’ll be prosecuted. It’s just that simple. And that is what happened in this case. And I’m proud to turn it over to our District Attorney of Queens County, DA Katz.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mayor and Commissioner Crotty, and of course the IG Gay, who is here today, and the Port Authority and all of the individuals responsible for getting us here. The mayor is correct in so many things that he has said today, but one of them is the partnership. Partnership requires all the agencies of the City of New York to work together, to make sure that we share information, to make sure that there is a leader like the mayor at the head of it. That makes it very clear that we will root out corruption, that we make sure that on huge projects, like a $25 billion project, is going to be done without corruption, and that we are watching them. And that we are making sure that every step of the way satisfies the requirements of the City of New York and the State of New York.
District Attorney Katz: So I want to thank you, Mr. Mayor, for today and for leading that charge. I will point out too, as the former borough president of Queens County, I care deeply about the safety of these trucks coming in and out of these airports. I was on the redesign commission for these airports. I was part of the redesign that’s happening and the development that is happening now. I care deeply that those that are hauling waste through my borough are doing it in safety, doing it with regulations, making sure that they are registered for the job and making sure that organizations and the agencies responsible for watching them have the ability to do that. That means they have to be registered. And so I appreciate the work that BIC has put into this. We are the home of two major airports that are getting redeveloped. They have to know that we are watching every step of the way. Our welfare depends upon it.
District Attorney Katz: I do want to acknowledge everybody I just mentioned because the partnership is crucial. I also want to acknowledge my Bureau Chief of Major Economic Crimes, Mary Lowenburg who’s here, our Executive, Jerry Brave, my Deputy Chief, Danny O’Brien and Ann Zalone who work at the airports every single day. As the district attorney of this case, clearly I am precluded from discussing the specifics of the pending criminal case. However, all I can say is that we are here to send a very clear message to unscrupulous company owners and contractors who choose to do business in New York. We will not stand for dishonest and unlicensed work and unsafe conditions that that creates. The regulations of our city’s commercial waste hauling industry prevents corruption and criminality from organized crime from seeping into vital services of the market. Those who attempt to skirt the law by not registering and by not having the agencies be able to follow up on them, will be held accountable. I thank all of you for the partnerships that we have had. And I now want to introduce IG John Gay. Thank you.
Inspector General John Gay, Port Authority: Thank you, Mayor Adams, Commissioner Crotty, District Attorney Katz for attending today. The Port Authority appreciates the Business Integrity Commission’s diligence and collaboration on this investigation of unlicensed waste haulers here at John F. Kennedy International Airport. We also appreciate DA Katz’s exceptional efforts in prosecuting these cases. Partnerships are essential to effective law enforcement. The arrests announced today are the fruit of a strong partnership among the respective institutions here at this podium. I’d like to also thank the hardworking employees at the Port Authority Office of Inspector General for their role in this investigation.
Inspector General Gay: Integrity is essential to the work of the Port Authority. We maintain the highest standards, not only for ourselves, but also for the vendors who do business with us. And that includes making sure that everyone is properly licensed. The arrest today sent a message to those contractors and subcontractors who may be thinking about violating the law on Port Authority projects. We are watching, we are investigating, and we will hold you accountable. Thank you.
Mayor Adams: Any questions on topic before we do a few off topic?
Question: I know you said you couldn’t explain any details. To the district attorney or the mayor or whoever has details, what exactly happened? Did these waste haulers just show up and start taking trash away? I’m kind of confused about what happened here.
Commissioner Crotty: It’s a construction and demolition companies. So they were on a project here at JFK with an airline, and it’s a quasi-private Public Works fund. And what we had had is we had realized that LMC, which is a denied company, was operating without a license. When we did our investigation, it led us to JFK. And the investigation then unearthed two other companies that were also operating without a license and a registration.
Question: So it was the airlines that were contracting?
Commissioner Crotty: It’s a little bit of both. Well Port Authority and I think Inspector General Gay can go more into the intricacies of the contract, but it’s a contract with an airline, but that the IG’s office does oversee that contract implicate.
Question: The Port Authority is approving the contracts because listening to this, I would think, oh, did the Port Authority just decide to work with these waste haulers? 
Commissioner Crotty: I’m going to leave that to you.
Inspector General Gay: I’ll take that. So this… Terminal 4 is privately developed by Delta Air Lines. It’s on Port Authority property. So the Port Authority has a role in ensuring certain practices and procedures are met, but this is a private development by Delta.
Question: So it’s Delta’s fault?
Inspector General Gay: I’m not suggesting it’s anybody’s fault here except the persons who are charged. But I’m explaining that that’s who is in charge. Now, obviously the Port Authority does have some oversight of things that are happening, but the contractual relationship does not involve the Port Authority.
Question: Can we get a little bit more detail about the mob connection?
Commissioner Crotty: You can. LMC is a denied company. And on the BIC website, you can read the entire denial on the website, which delineates all of the factors of why they were denied for not having good character, honesty and integrity.
Question: So when it comes to commercial waste hauling, the city was supposed to be implementing these reforms to do the waste zones and everything. I know there was a delay of a few months, but it was extended to July 15th. So where does that stand now? Did it take effect or I believe it’s the…
Commissioner Crotty: Well this is construction demolition, which is separate and apart from commercial waste zones. So that actually has nothing to do with this case. Commercial waste zones are a different entity, which go into private putrescible waste that is removed. And I believe that the city is still working that out and that the RFP process was gone through on July 15th.
Question: Okay. I guess it’s more of a question for the city than the Port Authority.
Mayor Adams: Yes. And we’ll give you an update on exactly where it is. I know the RFPs were out and we’ll give you an update later today on exactly where it is.
Question: All right. Thanks.
Mayor Adams: No, you have an off topic? Off, okay. All right. Let me get these off topic. I don’t want to be around. [Laughter]. Yes you can.
District Attorney Katz: I’m going to point one thing out and my bureau chief can correct me when I’m wrong. There’s a reason companies need to register. They need to register so that their standards and their integrity and everything that comes with that to have the privilege of working with the City of New York can be investigated and have its stamp of approval. These companies failed to register in order to have this job. That is the issue that we are dealing with right here.
District Attorney Katz: So three companies were held who have violated that. They were held not to have registered. And at the end of the day, why they decided not to register is really not the issue. They didn’t. And they will be held accountable for those actions. So let’s keep our eye on the ball as to what’s happening right here today. And the registration in all aspects of government work, has to be key to uphold the integrity that this mayor and the City of New York requires of the companies that we hire.
Question: And I’m assuming they’re no longer working on the job?
District Attorney Katz: I can tell you where the next court date is.
Mayor Adams: That’s okay. We’re gonna do some off topic so you all can be spared. This off topic.
Question: Yes. Angie Hernandez from New York 1. Thank you. In reference to your request for for state lawmakers to go into a special session, why do you think is this needed now?
Mayor Adams: Why do I?
Question: Think this is needed now?
Mayor Adams: Well, Albany’s going to do what Albany does and it’s up to them to determine. I don’t control Albany. I give my request as we deal with bail reform. We have to deal with the catch, release, repeat, and I think it is imperative that we look at where the violence is coming from, who are the victims and what we can do in the current laws. That includes bail reform to make sure that the criminal justice system is keeping violent offenders off our streets. And I will continue to say, when I was in Albany, we attempted to address that. And I think we have to get it right. And we’re seeing the results of not getting it right.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: Good. How are you?
Mayor Adams: Good.
Question: Hot day out there, just so you know. To follow up to that question, have you talked to the governor, have you talked to officials, leadership at the state level about what you’re looking for in the bail reforms, what you are looking to change? Have you had any communication with them since yesterday? What is that looking like?
Mayor Adams: Yes. And oftentimes we think of the… What I think our criminal justice system is off the rails. We specifically talk about just bail reform. It’s more than that. It includes other aspects of it. It includes what the prosecutors are doing, what our judges are doing, what the corporation counsels are doing, what ACS is doing. It’s the entire criminal justice system that we must look at. If we try to piecemeal and put a bandaid on a cancerous sore, we’re not going to heal the problem.
Mayor Adams: I had a long conversation with the speaker of the assembly. And we agreed to look over some of the data that the New York City Police Department is going to present on how we are having too many repeated offenders on non bail-eligible crime. It was a great conversation and we’re going to continue to be vociferous on this topic because New Yorkers I believe deserve better.
Question: Is that a conversation that happened today, yesterday?
Mayor Adams: It happened yesterday.
Question: Yeah. Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: Good. FOX 5. The union representing NYPD detectives saying that the detectives are being assigned to work the streets and not having the time to focus on other cases. Can you respond to that at all?
Mayor Adams: We’re going to deploy personnel to deal with the street crimes, the violence, and I believe the Detective Division has done an amazing job of solving cases. You look at some of the most prominent cases, and you’re seeing that they’re bringing the offenders to justice. And no matter what assignment we have in the Police Department, we are always one day away from being back in uniform, being back on the streets. Properly deploying our police officers at the right place, the right locations is important. And I’m sure if they’re deployed to one or two days on the street, I am sure it’s in a high crime area. It’s an area where you’re dealing with some serious violence.
Mayor Adams: I think having a detective out there at the appropriate time with their keen sense of understanding crime patterns, I think it’s a real winnable solution. I spoke with the DEA president earlier today, and I’m going to see where the officers are deployed in my conversation with the police commissioner. But it’s all hands on deck moment. Every able body must be on the streets to identify those who are bringing violence to our city.
Question: Going back to the special session. I’m sure you heard the governor’s comments yesterday in which she essentially rejected this idea and said that they have already made changes regarding repeat offenders in the changes that were made in the budget. So, what is your reactions to her knocking down this idea that you brought out, first of all?
Mayor Adams: First of all, Governor Hochul has been a real partner. I don’t believe we would have had any inroads in some of the reforms we pushed for and we were successful in getting without Governor Hochul. But again, I don’t control Albany. I don’t control the call of a special session. I can only share what I believe needs to be done, and I’m going to continue to do that. If they make a decision, that decision is going to come from the governor who has been a great partner in this.
Question: Okay. And so what exactly, I know that you want these dangerousness standards. But with regards to repeat offenders specifically, which is what you’ve been talking about here, what is the specific change you want them to make that goes beyond what was in the budget?
Mayor Adams: The dangerousness standard is a real standard to allow the judges to make the determination is important. And I want us to zero in on juveniles who are in possession of firearms. I want us to look at the loophole that if someone is carrying a loaded firearm and the bullets are inoperable, that they’re not treated with the same level. I want us to look at keeping violent juveniles in criminal court, should not be turned over to family court. I want us to look at if a person is arrested and they’re in juvenile court, we should be able to look at the family court if it’s a violent offender. So there are a list of things that we turned over throughout our pursuit to use a scalpel at looking at the existing laws so we can get it right.
Question: Okay. And a final follow up. You said yesterday, you didn’t think it was ironic you were on the same side as Lee Zeldin that you thought you were on the same side as Kathy Hochul. She’s made clear that that isn’t the case. She’s disagreeing with you on this. And Zeldin and the other Republicans are kind of using it. The fact that you’re on, that you and they are in agreement on this special session issue to go after her. So do you have any concerns about how that’s being used in the governor’s election?
Mayor Adams: No, not at all. Everyone knows I endorse Governor Hochul. I think Governor Hochul’s a great leader, a great partnership, far cry from what we’d witnessed in the past and Lee Zeldin and I, who served together in the Senate, we are on different sides of many issues. Such as his co-campaign manager did not see the need of charging the person who attempted to assault him with a serious enough incident. And so if anyone believes they’re going to agree 100% of their time on everything, then that’s not realistic. I don’t agree myself 100% of the time. So the reality is I overwhelmingly support and agree with Governor Hochul and I think she has been a great partner.
[…]
Mayor Adams: Get Courtney. You don’t get Courtney. Are you kidding me? Go ahead, Courtney.
Question: [Crosstalk] That’s not fair. I want to piggyback on what Erin was talking about, which is some people are saying that you appear to be siding with Republicans over Democrats over this. Your talking points on bail reform are much in line with Rob Ortt per se or Senate Republicans. In addition, Gianaris released a statement yesterday that said, “It’s sad Mayor Adams has joined the ranks of right-wingers who are so grossly demagoging this issue. He should focus less on deflecting from his own responsibility for higher crime and more on taking steps that would actually make New York safer.”
Mayor Adams: 8.8 million people, 30 million opinions. There’s only one mayor that’s going to make the decision on how we deploy policing, and we have been doing a great job. All of our criminal justice system must help us in doing so. And so I think that I’m not caught up in the going back and forth. I’m caught up in protecting this city. Our city must be safe and everyone must play a role in doing that.
Mayor Adams: Removing close to 4,000 guns off the street, removing violent offenders that are repeatedly being released, decreasing shootings, decreasing homicides, zero in on quality of life issues. I think we’re doing a great job and we want support and that support must come on our levels. And we stated that over and over again. But even while we wait for that support, we’re not going to stop doing our job and we’re doing that job well. Thank you.
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