N.O. building inspectors potentially lied about inspecting Hard Rock site

WWLTV obtained GPS records showing "potential discrepancies"

Kenny Kuhn
February 18, 2020 - 7:12 am
Hard Rock Collapse

GPS records of New Orleans Safety and Permits Department vehicles apparently show none of the inspectors were anywhere near the Hard Rock Hotel construction site on the day it was supposedly inspected. The GPS trackers were installed in city permit vehicles last year, as a means to follow inspectors as they conduct building inspections.

WWLTV obtained the GPS records of inspectors’ vehicles and found “potential discrepancies”. In those records, the GPS data showed no city permits vehicle were within four blocks of the construction site on October 1, the day final inspection of concrete slabs were supposedly done.

City records specifically show building inspector Julie Tweeter approved the pouring of concrete on the final upper floors on October 1. But workers on site told WWLTV the concrete was poured 3 days later and temporary shoring supports were removed on October 7. Five days later, the top floors of the construction site partially collapsed on October 12, killing three people.

In an email to WWLTV back in November, spokesperson for Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Beau Tidwell, acknowledged the discrepancies, saying “As part of our ongoing investigation into the Department of Safety and Permits, we are evaluating potential discrepancies in the department's inspection records.” Tidwell continues, “The outcome of our departmental assessment will dictate the next steps, which may include discipline up to and including termination and/or referral to law enforcement authorities.”

WWLTV says they have reached out to Tweeter regarding her inspection of the Hard Rock construction site, but she has not responded.

City Hall says they are investigating the allegations that Tweeter never actually conducted the key inspection and could end in discipline or turning information over to police.

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