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NY architect barred by city risks losing license

Robert Scarano, a controversial Brooklyn architect, has been banned by the city of New York from filing construction plans, putting at risk his ability to work as an architect there. Today’s ruling is one in a series of admonitions Scarano has received from city agencies for playing fast and loose with construction regulations to build larger structures than is permitted by law.

The city’s decision came on the heels of a 'scathing' recommendation by an administrative judge who found Scarano guilty of making false statements about three properties in Brooklyn. That judge, Joan R. Salzman, accused Scarano of 'deliberately overbuilding' and said some of his filings were “so deceptive that they call to mind out-and out fraud”. Robert LiMandri, Commissioner of the NY Department of Buildings, which issued the ban order, said, "He repeatedly submitted false documents in an attempt to circumvent the law and have illegal buildings approved. Licensed professionals must understand they have an obligations to follow the law so the safety and quality of life of our neighbourhoods are not compromised."

The current charges stem from a 2008 inquiry by the city’s Department of Investigation and the Building Department. According to the New York Times, the city brought charges against Scarano in 2006 for violating zoning rules and building codes for more than the two dozen apartment buildings in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and for failing to make safe a building site where a worker was killed by a wall collapse.

The implications of the city’s actions are not immediately clear, but it is speculated to possibly lead to disciplinary action by the State Board of Architects, the agency that governs the practice of architecture in New York State. That office failed to comment today on whether there were any complaints pending against Mr. Scarano that would put his license at risk. But the office did say all past discretions against license holders were posted on its web site at www.op.nysed.gov/opd/rasearch.htm. A review of that list, which goes back to 2005, indicates no actions have ever taken against Mr. Scarano that would affect his ability to practice architecture. That is not to say, however, that there aren’t any disciplinary actions currently pending against him.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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