Hard Rock site owners call accusations unfair, say they do care

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
January 27, 2020 - 3:01 pm

The owners of the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel construction site are trying to "set the record straight" amid claims they just don't care about the bodies trapped inside or about the community. 

An attorney for the developer described last week's protest march as a "sort of a Twitter-fueled flash mob making accusations against the owner of the project."

Lawyer Kerry Miller represents the 1031 Canal Development and says they wanted to let the public know the truth amid claims they didn't care about the human remains still inside.

"Accusations were directed, maybe racially motivated or not, at the Kailas family.  We thought that was very unfair."

He refuted claims that retrieving the bodies was not a top priority.

"From the moment this very, very, very unfortunate incident happened; they have been working very, very, very hard... to try and get the bodies out."

Miller says they even brought a special crew in to go get the victims.

"They hired paramilitary experts to try and go into the building and get these bodies out, people who specialized in this in Iraq and Afghanistan, because this was very important to the owners to try and bring closure as soon as possible."

He says, however, the crew never got into the structure.

"The engineers would not permit them to go in."

Miller says the building is just too unstable, and laser imaging of the structure showed that going in to get the bodies could cause further collapse and loss of life.

This all comes days after a tarp blew down exposing human remains dangling from the side of the Hard Rock project, sparking public outcry and the protest from the site to New Orleans City Hall.

He also told Newell Normand that the project is fully and properly insured so claimants can get compensated.

"It is the intent of the development team to try and resolve as many of these cases and as many of this claims as quickly as possible."

The building partially collapsed on October 12th or 2019, killing three people.  Two of the victims remain in the rubble.

Officials say the current plan is to implode the structure in March, with the bodies inside.

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