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Frame Collapse at MN Mall Project

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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Trusses toppled on top of one another “like dominoes” in a mall addition under construction last week in Minneapolis, drawing attention to the project’s controversial developer.

No one was injured in the collapse about 9 a.m. May 6, but more than 25 people were evacuated from Karmel Square Mall and power to the area was briefly down, reports said.

Crews building the third-floor addition to the 100,000-square-foot mall were not working at the time.

At the scene, developer and building owner Basim Sabri, 54, provided local media outlets with details about the incident.

Sabri, who runs Sabri Properties, was once jailed for bribing a Minneapolis city council member.

‘Guys Were a Little Tired’

Sabri said the east wall had collapsed on the addition because trusses were not properly tied down.

“We were done late last night, the guys were a little tired,” Sabri told reporters.

“The last truss was not secured to the wall, temporarily. Wind hit it; it hit the one next to it and the one next to it. That’s why you see a dominoes effect.”

He said May 5 had been the “first major day” of construction on the project that began two weeks prior.

Aerial footage and photos of the incident show wood framing down on the sidewalks and lying flat across the roof.

Authorities said Sabri had all required permits for the work. In the past, he has started projects on his properties without required permits, reports relate.

A city spokesman told D+D News there would be no further investigation into the incident.

"The framing members that were being installed on the third floor collapsed because they weren't anchored, braced or connected properly," said Matt Lindstrom.

Community Concerned

Despite having proper construction permits in place, members of the South Minneapolis community said they were concerned about the project and the workers hired by Sabri.

"Who approved these things? What would happen if today more than four or five people died?" asked Osman Omar, according to a local NBC News outlet.

A mall tenant accused Sabri of using “cheap labor.”

"I don't see big company building for him [Sabri],” said Hassan Elmi. “If it's not cheap labor, it should not fall down like that."

‘Accidents Happen’

However, Sabri told reporters that the same crew had built a much larger building nearby without any issues.

“I have my own contractors. Everybody knows what they are doing,” Sabri said. “Planes crash sometimes, accidents happen.”

He told a CBS reporter, “We’re going to build, man. This is … no body died, nobody got hurt, it’s all good. You come here tomorrow, this will look much different. How is that?”

Basim Sabri
Screenshot via CBSlocal.com

Mall owner and developer Basim Sabri said the trusses had collapsed because they had not been properly tied down.

Reports said Sabri’s workers were cleaning up the debris after the incident.

Controversial Developer

Sabri was convicted in 2004 of bribing a former Minneapolis City Council Member for help on a development deal. That official, Brian Herron, had pleaded guilty to extortion and went to prison in 2001.

The residential and commercial developer spent 19 months in federal prison and was released in 2005.

Reports say Sabri was sentenced to 33 months but was released early for good behavior. While he served his time, his wife, sister and niece ran Sabri Properties.

Following his prison sentence, Sabri went back to developing properties in Minneapolis.

“I love building and developing. It’s my hobby,” he told the Twin Cities Daily Planet in a 2007 interview.

In the past few years, Sabri has started projects without permits, taken the city to court, and allegedly disregarded building codes and ordinances resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of fines, according to the Star Tribune.

His company did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Commercial Construction; Construction; Developers; Health and safety

Comment from john lienert, (5/13/2014, 8:26 AM)

put him back in jail.......he didn't learn anything


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