Two men were sentenced to prison terms today for their roles in the death of a roofer at a home in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood in 2008, District Attorney George Gascon said.
Antonio Martinez, 39, fell to his death from the roof of a four-story apartment building at 646 Corbett Ave. on Jan. 16, 2008.
Sam Hyung Goo Shim, 68, the owner of the company that employed Martinez, was sentenced today to a year in county jail. Jwa Young Kim, 56, the foreman at the site, was given 364 days in jail.
Shim’s company, California C&R Inc., was also convicted for Martinez’s death.
At a news conference held at the San Francisco Hall of Justice after the sentencing, Gascon said the defendants’ “blatant disregard for the immigrant worker’s safety resulted in the untimely death.”
According to evidence presented to a grand jury, there were no safety measures in place at the construction site, where Martinez fell 38 feet from the roof to the sidewalk below.
Shim, Kim and the company agreed to a plea deal with the district attorney’s office.
Shim pleaded guilty to four felony counts: involuntary manslaughter, willful violation of worker safety codes causing death, workers’ compensation premium fraud, and tax evasion.
The latter two charges were for failing to report Martinez’s wages in payroll filings submitted to his insurance carrier and the state’s Employment Development Department.
Kim and the company each pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of willful violation of worker safety codes causing death.
Cora Gherhga, regional manager for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said the convictions and sentences “send a clear message to employers … you cannot gamble with the workers’ lives.”
Cal/OSHA encourages employees with work-related questions or complaints to call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9424.
At today’s news conference, Gascon also signed an agreement between the district attorney’s office and the Mexican consul general’s office that he called “historic in its nature.”
In the three-year agreement, each office pledges to assist the other in providing victim services for undocumented Mexican immigrants and assistance with securing testimony and court appearances by them.
Gascon said the agreement will provide support and protection for “those that may be hesitant to report their victimization” because of a fear of being deported.
He said he hopes to develop similar agreements with other consul general offices in the city.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News