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Safety Engineer Charged With Forging License

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A safety engineer employed by a private contractor when a giant chunk of Hollywood Boulevard collapsed atop a subway tunnel last year was charged Thursday with forging his state engineering credentials.

John Kenneth Martin, 52, was accused by the district attorney of falsifying Cal/OSHA licenses required to serve as a safety engineer in tunnel construction, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Cal/OSHA recommended last year that misdemeanor charges be brought in connection with allegations that the tunnel contractor endangered the lives of project workers the day of the June 22 sinkhole, usurping the authority of safety officials as the street above the tunnel showed signs that it was about to collapse. The city attorney’s office is still reviewing that matter.

Tunnel contractor Shea-Kiewit-Kenny has contended that its workers did everything they could to safely evacuate the tunnel.

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Officials would not comment about Martin’s activities the day the sinkhole occurred. He was employed at the time by SKK, which was fired by the MTA after the sinkhole.

John F. Shea, president of J.F. Shea, said Thursday that he was unaware that Martin--who quit after the sinkhole--was allegedly using forged credentials. Martin was responsible for making sure the contractor complied with worker safety regulations.

An MTA spokesman said the agency discovered the forged credentials when Martin applied to the transit agency for a job and officials saw the same serial number as that of another engineer. Martin could not be reached for comment.

The MTA now checks the licenses of its safety engineers.

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