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Hard Rock developers say they are not responsible for collapse

Ads are telling the public that Hard Rock owners “did not do the construction,” but the project's owners include the primary contractor.

NEW ORLEANS — The owners of the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel say they are not architects or engineers and are not responsible for the accident that killed three and injured dozens more.

That was the message Monday from an attorney who represents 1031 Canal Development LLC., and it was the first time anyone associated with the developers has spoken publicly about the Oct. 12 collapse.

Kerry Miller, with Fishman Haygood, made the comments on WWL Radio while speaking to Newell Normand.

He said part of the reason was to clear up what he described as misleading information that has been released about the project, which is also why the company published an ad in The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate that sought to distance itself from the catastrophe.

“1031 Canal LLC, the owner, the majority owner, entities controlled by the Kailas family, are not general contractors, they’re not engineers and they’re not architects,” Miller said. “Those are simple, basic facts that people need to be aware of before they jump to conclusions and make accusations.”

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The first public comments from the company came after what was perhaps the most emotional week since the collapse.

A tarp on the side of the building blew aside last week and exposed the remains of a worker who is still pinned beneath rubble. Then, the City Council announced it plans to launch its own investigation, an idea Mayor LaToya Cantrell has blasted, and one Miller pushed back on.

“I think they’ve been watching Senate impeachment trials too much,” he told Normand. “They’re a legislative body … that’s very limited to legislative issues.”

The city charter, however, does allow for the council to launch its own investigations.

The ad that 1031 Canal Development bought said that the development team “did not do the construction” nor did it “do the engineering or the architecture."

But that ad did not include the fact that the project's owner includes not only Mohan Kailas — the majority owner — but Todd Trosclair of All-Star Electric, the electrical contractor, and Denzel Clark of Citadel Builders, the primary contractor.

“Your general contractor is a principal owner of 1031 Canal Development LLC,” Normand said. “You don’t see the apparent conflict there in making this statement?”

“Not from that standpoint,” Miller said. “It’s not uncommon in the construction world that the general contractor is also a member of the development group. And that’s what you’re pointing out here. It’s a simple fact.”

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