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"King of Cranes" James Lomma Declares Bankruptcy after Two Workers Killed

On Tuesday, January 6, James Lomma filed for an appeal to a jury’s decision to award $96 million to the families of two construction accident victims. Lomma also filed for bankruptcy, thus allegedly trying to avoid payments.

As the self-proclaimed “King of Cranes,” James Lomma is the owner of New York Crane & Equipment Corp. In 2008, one of his cranes collapsed on East 91st street on the upper east side of Manhattan. The accident killed Donald Leo, the operator, and Ramadan Kurtaj, a worker. The families of the deceased filed a suit against Lomma and his company and were awarded $48 million each.

The jury presiding over Leo and Kurtaj’s case held Lomma and his company accountable.

The liability was allotted as the following:

  • 61% to James Lomma (personally)
  • 19% to New York Crane & Equipment Corp.
  • 20% J.F. Lomma Inc.

By filing for bankruptcy, Lomma expects an automatic stay to be placed on his company, thus restricting collectors from seeking funds. It is unclear what this means for the victims’ families, though their compensation may be classified as non-dischargeable debts.

According to reports, Lomma owes a considerable sum in debt. Along with the $96 million due to the victims’ families, Lomma also allegedly owes:

  • $300,000 in state and federal taxes
  • $7.8 million to a business partner
  • $3 million to an aviation finance company

Along with the bankruptcy declaration, reports assert that Lomma has been transferring assets to his daughter’s company, JK Cranes. The attorneys representing the victims’ families question this move, considering Lomma’s daughter has limited experience in the crane industry. Attorney Bernadette Panzella, who represents Leo’s mother, believes this is a ploy for Lomma to avoid paying what is due to the families.

At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C, we believe that responsible parties should be held accountable in catastrophic accidents. If you or a loved one was injured while working, contact our New York construction accident attorneys. Call today for a free consultation.


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