Levin: “Magic” Johnson’s Firm Hired “Irresponsible” Contractor for 20 Henry

While many in the Heights were glad to see work resume on the renovation of the former candy factory building at 20 Henry after it was taken over by a firm in which basketball great “Magic” Johnson is a principal investor, the contractor hired for the project has a questionable record.

New York Daily News: Councilman Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights) slammed the former hoop star’s Canyon Johnson Urban Funds for using Leviathan Construction Management to turn a former Henry St. candy factory into high-end condos.

“They have not had a good history in terms of safety on their work sites,” Levin said. “I want to see a responsible contractor.”

According to the Daily News article, the contractor, Leviathan Construction Management, has had 180 safety violations at construction sites around the City since 2008, and has already been cited for unsafe scaffolding at 20 Henry. Leviathan is a non-union contractor, and union members have been handing out leaflets in the North Heights advising pedestrians to avoid sidewalks adjacent to the construction site.

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  • jim

    sounds like pro-union activism….wonder who funds Levin (besides Vito)

  • Resident

    Levin is a councilman, right? Change the law if you don’t want a company with the record of Leviathan working in your district. 180 safety violations in the city since 2008 does sound bad, anyone know how many violations an average worksite picks up?

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Is the “Rat ” waiting in the wings?

    Thank you, Magic. There is a police station down the block……

  • Eddy de Lectron

    I am a construction professional. It is hard to say if 180 violations is excessive, it depends on the size of and how many projects the contractor was engaged in. Building inspectors will almost always find violations on any job site, even union sites. Many safety violations are minor e.g. not enough no smoking signs, missing lightbulb guards, extension cords running across a passageway etc… What is more important is if they had serious violations and if they had sites shutdown for safety violations.

    Karl, I know the guy who use to set up “the Rat”

  • Resident

    Thanks, Eddy. That was sort of what I was getting at, the 180 number had no context. I would be interested to know how much truth is behind the allegations that they are an unsafe outfit.

  • Eddy de Lectron

    Yeah, I don’t know the deal with Leviathan, I have heard of them but never worked with them, I’ll ask around. One thing I can say is, just because a contractor is non-union does not mean they are unsafe or shoddy. The unions are full of crap. Many of the union stewards are self serving opportunists that cut deals with contractors to let non-union workers work on union sites, for payoffs or letting a few union workers do little or no work.

  • nabeguy

    Thanks for saying that Eddy. This general perception that non-union labor automatically equates to un-professional or un-skilled is nothing more than fear-mongering foisted upon the public by the unions and their lapdogs in politics. Glad to see a professional in the field stand up to the status quo…or, as the case may be, the status no.

  • Historian

    That building is an interesting building. But only the top floors on the east side have decent views and it’s right across the street from the firehouse. Before the market crash they were asking very high prices.

  • Andrew Porter

    The west side of the building has views over the converted schoolhouse next door and toward Manhattan; the south side faces Middagh Street; the east side faces one of the Cadman towers, and the park. All pretty good views, except the north side, which will face the new building. But any side except the north side will get full sunlight.

  • David on Middagh

    The crime here is that so many apartments in such a nice neighborhood have been in limbo for so long.

    The evicted tenants fought a battle that was doomed from the start, but probably slowed down the re-inhabitation, as did the greed of the developers who caught resistance for the big new structure.

  • eg

    Don’t forget that people are sometimes killed on unauthorized construction sites. Hopefully unions have more to lose and may be somewhat safer.

  • hicksonhicks

    1. We live across from a firehouse and they make for the best neighbors. They don’t start the siren until down the street and the firefighters are respectful neighbors whose presence makes crime a non-event.

    2. Unions are destroying our economy. We lost 2 representatives in the last redristicting because of the high costs and anti-business initiatives that they engender which drive people to the sunbelt where jobs are plentiful. The Triangle Shirt Factory was a long time ago. Let’s make NYS a right-to-work state and see the jobs flow back.