Hard Rock Hotel Collapse Investigation: Orleans DA’s office waiting on reports from Orleans Inspector General, OSHA

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — An empty lot sits on Canal Street where the Hard Rock Hotel once stood. The collapse killed three construction workers back in October 2019, and there’s still dozens of unanswered questions about what went wrong.

A year and a half after the Hard Rock Hotel collapse and the District Attorney’s office is still waiting on that report from the inspector general to determine whether or not to move forward with criminal charges.

District Attorney Jason Williams says time is ticking and that his office needs to dive into the report as soon as possible.

“We’re inching really close to October, which would be one of the first deadlines for certain charges and there are other charges that have longer deadlines, but without having the report we haven’t even been able to assess the facts and evidence to look and see what criminal responsibility is there,” said Williams.

We asked District Attorney Williams who would face criminal charges, but he says that all depends on what New Orleans Inspector General’s report reveals.

“I need to look at the evidence, I need to look at what causation was present there, whose fault it was, who should’ve caught it and these reports are going to be essential in getting to the bottom of that,” said Williams.

Williams adds his office has not received the federal OSHA report either, and if he needs to, he’ll issue a subpoena to get the documentation he needs to move the case forward.

“You know, this is too important. Criminal responsibility is how we hold people accountable so other people don’t get hurt,” said Williams.

We reached out to interim Inspector General Ed Michel about the report, and he said he’s working on getting it to the DA’s office by next week. Michel also told us that his office has jurisdiction over city employees and the conduct of city employees, while the OSHA report will focus on any structural issues of the collapse.

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