Attorney for Philly demolition contractor denies any wrongdoing in fatal collapse [updated]

    Kenneth Edelin represents Griffin Campbell Construction

    Kenneth Edelin represents Griffin Campbell Construction

    The attorney for the contractor who demolished the Market Street building that ultimately collapsed last week, killing six in an adjoining building, is speaking out.  He said his client was doing things properly.

    Meanwhile, the attorney representing the only defendant so far charged in the deadly collapse says his client is a scapegoat who was only following orders.

    Kenneth Edelin represents Griffin Campbell Construction, the contractor demolishing several properties at 22nd and Market streets in Philadelphia.  Edelin, who said his client proceeding according to regulations, said Campbell is not to blame for the collapse that killed six and injured 13 others. “It’s not my job to determine who’s responsible,” he said during a news conference. “It’s my job to defend Mr. Campbell and what I know is that Mr. Campbell is not responsible.” Edelin says Campbell was on the site that day.

    Though witnesses say an excavator was used to take down part of the building, Edelin said Campbell ordered that the building be demolished by hand, not with heavy equipment. “The excavator was there only to remove debris on that day and it was not to be used on that section of the wall,” Edelin said.

    Later Tuesday, the lawyer for a subcontractor charged in a deadly building collapse says he is a scapegoat who was merely following orders.

    Representing 42-year-old Sean Benschop, attorney Daine Grey denied that his client was impaired by marijuana and Percocet while operating machinery, as prosecutors allege.

    Authorities have charged “the lowest man on the totem pole” but should focus on the contractor and building owner, Grey said.

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration representatives were at the site during the demolition process, before the collapse happened, according to Edelin. “I believe OSHA was responding to a complaint that some of the workers were not wearing harnesses,” he said. “It’s my understanding that the OSHA inspector showed up, called the workers down from on high, saw that they had harnesses on and cleared everything.” Edelin claims his client offered to erect scaffolding to protect the Salvation Army Thrift Store during demolition. Major Robert Dixon, director of operations for the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, says he knows of no such offer. A spokesman for the adult rehab program which oversees the thrift store operation was unavailable for comment Tuesday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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