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Crane owner James Lomma acquitted of manslaughter charges

James Lomma faced up to 15 years in prison after he was accused of manslaughter for the deaths of two workers in the 2008 crane collapse.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge today acquitted a wealthy crane operator charged with the deaths of two workers in a fatal crane accident on East 91st Street in 2008.

James Lomma faced up to 15 years in prison after he was accused of manslaughter for the deaths. Prosecutors alleged that Lomma kept the crane operating even though it was dangerous, and that he approved improper repairs on the crane.

Construction workers Donald Leo, 30, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27, were killed when the crane fell 200 feet in May of 2008.

But today a judge ruled that multimillionaire Lomma, who owns New York Crane and Equipment, one of the biggest crane companies in the city, was not guilty, according to the New York Daily News.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said he was "disappointed with the judge’s verdict," but said that every criminal case the city brings in regards to crane accidents results in safer worker conditions.

"The tragic deaths of two young men in this case showed the serious
and fatal consequences that can result when profit is put ahead of
safety," said DA Vance.

Earlier this month, a construction worker was killed when a crane collapsed at the Hudson Yards construction site on the West Side of Manhattan. Nobody has been charged in that incident.