#JusticeForHardRock3 - Respectfully Return the Bodies & Prosecute Those Responsible!
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The first link below is to the GoFundMe referenced at the end of this petition.
The second link will take you to a site run by one of the few angels here in New Orleans who have selflessly taken on the task of getting justice for Jose, Quinn, and Anthony.
Follow this page for more info on the #hardrock3 and read below for an overview of what happened, where we are currently, and what we plan to do.
#hardrock3 Link: https://m.facebook.com/HardRock3-102823511314993/
The 3rd link takes you to the page of Rubia Garcia, the 10 year educator and local human rights & social justice advocate, Hurricane Katrina survivor, and life long resident of New Orleans, who organized the #boycotthardrock movement to force Hard Rock into action. If you follow her, she visits the site daily to bring awareness to the hundreds and thousands (millions during Mardi Gras) who visit the site daily. She shares regular/daily updates on her social media pages to inform the millions around the world who are now following this story and fighting to bring justice and peace in death to the victims and their families because they were denied and robbed of them in life.
Rubia Garcia Link: https://www.facebook.com/1341832342508469/posts/3746743705350642/?vh=e&d=n
On Saturday, October 12, 2019 at approximately 9am, the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana that was under construction, collapsed. Out of the approximate 281 people in the building that morning, there were 18 people transported to the hospital from the site and many others that drove themselves to area hospitals. However, the day of the collapse, at least 3 workers were publicly unaccounted for. We will discuss the potential causes for the collapse later.
But first, our brothers.
The day after the collapse, on Sunday, October 13th, the body of one of our brothers, Anthony Magrette, was pulled from the rubble after 32 hours. His family has reported since that his autopsy revealed he had survived the first 27; 5 hours too late, due in part to New Orleans first responder administrators refusing to allow responders into the building and also refusing help from local unions, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other local volunteers who offered to assist in recovery and telling the families as they waited those 32 hours that Anthony was "alive" and in a "safe Haven. To date, the families haven't heard from Mayor Latoya Cantrell since she attended the wake (with press to take pictures), even though in press conferences her and other city officials say that they have spoken to them regularly since the collapse. They have not. See this news link from March 4th. ( https://www.fox8live.com/2020/03/05/family-hard-rock-collapse-victim-calling-answers-accountability-city-new-orleans/ )
As of today, March 5, 2020, the bodies of our other two brothers, Jose Ponce Arreola and Quinnyon Wimberly, still remain inside the building. Quinnyon, who can tragically be seen on the original video of the collapse exiting the building on the 12th floor as the building comes down, not only remains in the building to date, but his legs at this very moment, are visible to any of the public from the streets around the city/site. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5_UtZWK1aw&disable_polymer=true ,
Some may remember a few weeks ago at the end of January, the tarp that the city had placed to cover his legs had blown away in the wind, and this was when global outrage behind the coverup and the #boycotthardrock movement began. This, in the greatest country in the world, was unacceptable.
Now 5 months later, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, countless Saints games, the LSU games including the Championship, as well as personal holidays, and of course Mardi Gras, have all gone on since the collapse and the cries of the families and the community; have been blatantly ignored.
In that time that has passes, the plans on what to do with the building and how to address recovery have changed so many times that as writing this, a fair number would have to be at MINIMUM in the double digits. Adding to this inconsistency, are those of conflicting information being provided by and between our elected officials.
For example, in a press on February 12th, just weeks after the start of the #boycotthardrock movement and the same day that Hard Rock International sent our Mayor a personal letter, the Mayor stated not once, but twice, that she intended to recover the bodies and THEN control-implode the building in mid-March. This statement was HUGE to the families and the community.
Just days prior to the Mayor saying this in that February 12th conference, New Orleans Fire Chief Time McConnell had stated the opposite and original plan forced upon the families by the city, that they would implode the building with the bodies inside. Only for last week, the plan that was proposed and approved by the Mayor, to state that what the fire chief had said, was the real truth all along, and the Mayor not onlylied to the families, the press, and the city, but also, you and the millions others around the world now a part of this movement towards righteousness and justice.
POTENTIAL CAUSES and DEFINITIVE EFFECTS
- The building is located at 1031 Canal St. It is on the corner of Canal Street and North Rampart and up until 2014 used to be the Woolworth’s. It was the location of the first organized lunch counter sit-in in New Orleans. In September 1960, 2 whites and 5 blacks walked in and sat at the Woolworth's counter and demanded to be served, in direct protest to the Jim Crow laws of the South at the time. The city signed off on the demo, (our now Mayor being a member of the council) and the Woolworth’s was declassified as a historic landmark and demolished in 2014.
Praveen Kailas of Kailas Companies, the owner of the land and son of the now lead developer/stakeholder in the 1031 Canal pleads out to federal charges for over billing in the Louisiana States Road Home Program. He turns the company to his dad Mohan Kailas, who then announces the consortium and partnership with Hard Rock and 2018, it starts. This just shows history of corruption. Also shows that Hard Rock didn’t bet their developers.
- Mayor LaToya Cantrell has taken over $70k from the consortium. City Council members have taken over $20k from them as well.
- Unapologetic and proliferated use of non union, undocumented workers.
Supervisors ignored the warning of these workers who even took to apparently posting videos to social media DAYS BEFORE the collapse after being told to go back to work when they told their supervisors that the temporary shores holding up the concrete slabs they had just poured, were failing.
- The floors of the Hard Rock on Canal Street are a different size shape and size than the ones that were approved by the cities safety and permitting office; and public records apparently show a violation by the developers of the project which is a consortium named 1031 Canal, composed of Kailas Companies, Citadel Builders(Denzel Clark), and All Star Electric (Todd Trosclair, has be reported to have thrown campaign fundraisers for Mayor Cantrell), who failed to file such change with the city according to Sections 26-15 of city code. The size and shape of the decking used, is extremely important because tips engineers have stated publicly that the floors placed, weren’t meant to withhold the spans between the beams as were those of the original design.
- The final concrete was poured into the 18th floor on October 4th and according to American Concrete Institute, should have been cured at minimum given those spans, for 14 days. Three days after the pour on October 7th it appears they began removing the temporary shores to support the decking while it cured. Three days after that, on October 10th, workers are posting videos showing the shores that remained, still remained because the pressure had bent them in place. Two days after that on the 12th, they moved forward with installing the rooftop pool. And just a few hours after that, the building floors pan caked. Pulling half the entire building, pulling the floors from the 18th floor that Jose was standing on from under him, entombing him completely ever since. Then, wrapping around the North Rampart side of the building, and catching Q, as stated before just on the opposite end of the building, leaving only his legs and now his partially visible face, as the only proof as to where he is and how absolutely horrible this all is on what is now, day 146.
- One of the workers Joel Ramirez Palma, a husband, father of 3, and construction worker with almost two decades of construction background, was one of the workers who had warned supervisors that the building wasn’t safe. The day of the collapse, he spoke with local news media. Less than 48 hours later, he was arrested, detained for weeks, and then deported. He remains there, after living and making an honest living with his family for the majority of his life.
As of Day 142 (March 2, 2020)
- Top building official for the City of New Orleans, Larry Chan, and Chief Building Inspector Terry Willis were secretly recorded (recorded by Chan himself) in a special meeting they had held Sept 16th(a month BEFORE the Hard Rock Collapse)with city inspectors after he reissued a 5 year old policy statement of the department which required city inspectors to use the approved mobile app to upload time stamped photos of site visits and recording their locations. He warned them that there were GPS trackers in the vehicles. He warned them NOT to inspect commercial buildings if they held only residential inspection certifications.
Later that day after the meeting he (Chan) and an analyst in the Department, Richella Maxwell, were escorted out of the building and placed on emergency suspension, "based on the ongoing investigation into your involvement in the alleged illegal issuance of city permits.
- This all stems from a years long investigation into the city's Safety and Permits Office, which just days before this meeting Chan called, had led to the indictment of Kevin Richardson, a former city inspector worker who actually had been FIRED IN 2015 for taking $65K+ in bribes for buildings he had not inspected or forged documents on, having potentially touched permits numbering over 8,300 in his career working since 2009. He was reportedly working/conspiring with an analyst Maxwell, maybe others, who had remained within the department office after Richardon was terminated. Richardson pled out within weeks AFTER the collapse.
City Inspectors Julie Tweeter, Thomas Dwyer, and Eric Treadway reportedly signed off on MULTIPLE PROJECTS throughout the city that they had never visited (witnesses AND GPS in the suspected inspector vehicles appear corroborate this); and NOT just the Hard Rock site. Also important to note, since the collapse, other buildings have had issues with permits and scaffolds have fallen in the French Quarter in front of Harrah’s Casino, landing ion cars and just missing innocent people, due in significant part, to such carelessness and corruption.
- Julie Tweeter, the inspector who signed off on the October 1st inspection of the top floor of the Hard Rock, even reportedly requested one company to EMAIL HER photos of the project since she never showed to take the pictures herself as required by law. She also signed off (at minimum) on 6 different occasions at the Hard Rock DESPITE THE FACT that the Louisiana State Fire Marshall's Office confirms she wasn't certified to inspect commercial buildings such as the Hard Rock. She wasn't the only one not certified on commercial buildings, but was conducting them on the Hard Rock Commercial Site. Inspector Bryan Cowart ALSO signed off on key stages of the Hard Rock's construction without the requisite certifications for projects such as the Hard Rock.
- The day of the meeting with supervisors Larry Chan and Terry Willis on September 16th, Julie Tweeter's inspection logs show she performed a foundation inspection at the Hard Rock, but her city truck stopped within a few block for only 6 minutes. Two weeks after that meeting she approved that fatal final pour, but her truck never came within 7 blocks the construction site that day. Three days later, the concrete is poured. Three days after that the temporary shoring posts are being removed and workers like Joel Ramirez Palma (the man soon after arrested and deported) begin warning job supervisors that the remaining shores are buckling and failing. And 5 days after that, just hours after installing a rooftop pool, those top floors collapse.
Eric Treadaway was the inspector that signed off on the July 26th inspection of the 14th floor. That day, GPS tracker in what is believed is his city truck, never came near the Hard Rock.
- The 3rd inspector Thomas Dwyer, signed off on 3 slab inspections on August 9th, but GPS from the inspector vehicle believed to be his, made it to City Hall around 9am that day and left at 2:48, the car never making it to the Hard Rock site the day of in that vehicle. The vehicle believed to be his DID however make it to the Hard Rock on September 20th, another date in his log as to an inspection he had reportedly performed. Although having ALSO missed the wrong decking.
- Tweeter and Treadaway are suspended without pay pending a pre-termination hearing next week at City Hall.
- Larry Chan was also allowed to retire.
- Safety and Permits Director, Zachary Smith, was DEMOTED and will STILL REMAIN EMPLOYED as a deputy within the department.
- City Administration announced days ago that they are DISMANTLING the Department of Safety and Permits, renaming it 'Department of Licensing and Regulation', because well.... CLEARLY.... 'safety' isn't what they signed up for, nor is it a priority. Especially when this has been going on for YEARS in EVERY aspect of city governance here in Nola from Construction to Sewage and Water, and beyond.
- The historic building of the Saenger Theatre were damaged. The building behind, what is now the New Orleans Athletic Club, to this day, can’t use its facilities.
- The buildings attached to the Hard Rock site have all been purchased by the consortium and have filed with the city for demo.
- To date, there is NOT a date or time for when the building is to come down, the timeline just keeps getting pushed back and filled with more lies and scandals.
- The families have ALL spoken publicly and voiced their desires that they want the remains removed hastily and with dignity, for the building to be preserved for evidence, and those accountable, brought to justice to the fullest extent of the law.
It’s been almost 5 months now and the bodies of Jose and Q still remain in the Hard Rock Hotel that collapsed back in October of last year with no plan to date as to when they will be removed. Yet another uniquely New Orleans event, Jazz Fest, is fast approaching. The Mayor has once again rescheduled the implosion date until maybe some time in April and will attempt to recover the bodies AFTER the implosion is completed. Another "deadline" postponed, yet again.
The families want the remains of their loved ones so that they can give them a proper burial. In as BEST condition as possible given the known facts that our brothers have been crushed, partially blown up when they decided to demo the cranes with them inside of it, and having been exposed to New Orleans elements for 5 months.
This is their number ONE and TOP priority, and has been since day ONE. That part, has never changed. They do not wish to force anyone to risk their lives and potential add injury to an already egregious insult to humanity. However, incidents' such as this, and even ones FAR WORSE, have unfortunately transpired and have been resolved and remedied in a fraction of the time. Which begs one to question, why is implosion and destruction of a crime scene (the City Office of Inspector General IS criminally investigating as does NOT wish the building to be taken down until the initial investigation is concluded, which is supposed to come next month.
Second to this demand, is to prevent them from imploding the building, not just with the bodies inside, but also in order to preserve the evidence and stand the best chance at holding those who are responsible, accountable.
Lastly, to push for support of a Civil Rights park to be placed at the site once clean up has been concluded. Not only does this honor the lives of Jose, Q, and Anthony, but also to the dozens injured and numerous businesses affected. It also serves as a small gesture to honor not just to the history that has permanently been erased by the destruction of the Woolworth's, but also to rectify the wrongs made SINCE without regard to the families, which has ultimately forced a community to rally into raising these funds to do it ourselves.
We want to help them and we need YOU to help us.
This fundraiser will run continuously, but the first deadline is February 12th. The 5 month anniversary of the collapse. This means we are in a crunch so if this is going to happen and going to be impactful, it has to happen and happen FAST.
The City of New Orleans has made it clear to the families directly that there are two specific reasons that they will not recover the bodies. They have said that they will not spend ANY MORE MONEY (as of Dec 2019, the City of New Orleans, NOT the consortium, has used over $12 million of taxpayer dollars), nor will they forced their teams to risk their lives.
Well, THIS plan.... While ambitious, is the solution.
Our plan is to raise the funds to hire a team of experts (we are currently in talks with 3 potential teams) who specialize in this specific type of recovery, investigations, and legalities. We want to pay for their transportation, accommodations, tools/supplies, staff, etc, any all expenses that will be needed in order to accomplish this challenging, but possible task that our incompetent politicians and crooked contractors can't seem to do. We will do it ourselves. WE... the millions of people around the world following, will pay for them to come in and conduct a search and recovery operation.
These funds will cover all fees including airfare and ground transportation, accommodations, materials, expert fees, tools, and staffing needed to fund #hardrock3recovery.
The money and plans (including the team who has agreed to do it) will be presented to the Mayor, the City of New Orleans, and other state elected officials at that time for their approval. In the event they deny the plan that cost them absolutely NOTHING, as well as specifically honors the desires of the families while addressing the two main justifications against removing them, the funds will continue to be raised to reissue the plans, as well as seek legal/ judicial remedies, in order to force them. And why? Because the Power of the People, is supposed to be more powerful than the people in power, THAT's why.
In conjunction with the specific Hard Rock incident legal recourses towards justice, the committee for #hardrock3 will use a portion of these funds to create a the “Hard Rock Meets Hard Knocks” Scholarship fund, with specific scholarships dedicated under the names of the victims Jose Ponce Arreola, Anthony Magrette, and Quinnyon Wimberly, to educate, train, and provide resources to human rights activist, advocates, and muckrakers around the world to investigate and expose the levels of corruption in their local communities, and provide a channel to broadcast such situations GLOBALLY. Also, fund will be provided to produce the plans for the park that is to replace the site. How the funds will be used will be fully transparent and expenses made public.
This fundraiser is dedicated to the honest workers who lost their lives to no devices of their own. It is dedicated to the memory of Anthony Magrette, Jose Ponce Arreola, and Quinnyon Wimberly, who from forever on, will be known and honored now, as the #HardRock3. This cause serves as the beacon of light in an unjust world working towards justice and demanding it on behalf of the men, their families, for the numerous businesses impacted, as well as to the people around the city who have had their lives turned upside down due to the effects this has all had on transportation, in conjunction with the added emotional trauma of having to relive the indecency of having two of our own being disrespected in a city that is NOTORIOUS for revering our dead unlike anywhere else in the world. All of this, in addition to the repeated injustice of being bold faced lied to constantly by our public officials and having due justice held hostage to a dollar amount and cowardice.
RIP Anthony, Jose and Quinnyon.
We will NOT let you be forgotten.
And we WILL bring you home.
Not because it is cheap, and not because it is safe;
But because as Americans, it's just the right thing to do.
And we are better than leaving good, innocent men behind when we have to resources available to bring them home.
When the people who are supposed to protect us, don't.
THAT, is where the PEOPLE come in.
It is where YOU come in.
Any amount helps, and if not because we know these are trying times for many of us, PLEASE....never underestimate the power of a supportive word and/or a SHARE; after all, such empathy is what started this movement to begin with.
NOW, we need you to follow this through to the true progress and change we demand.
We can... and we WILL get justice.
Not just here, but everywhere.
All we all have to do... is....be human.
For more information on the Hard Rock Collapse, the Boycott on Hard Rock or updates, please follow Rubia Garcia, Rubia Garcia II and #boycotthardrocknola on Facebook. Please follow the social media pages as they will tell you more about these victims, share photos, articles and videos and give everyone a place to memorialize these innocent victims of such a preventable, tragic disaster.
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