Owner under scrutiny following construction collapse

MINNEAPOLIS - A controversial developer is under scrutiny following a construction collapse at one of his properties Tuesday.

Framing on a third story addition at the Karmel Mall on Pillsbury Avenue South and 29th Street collapsed around 9 a.m.

"The framers were working a little bit late, they got tired, they did not unfortunately tie one end of the trusses," owner Basim Sabri said. "So wind hits one truss, hits the other truss and it's like dominoes."

Some framing crashed onto the sidewalk below damaging a power line, but no one was injured.

At least one tenant is concerned about building practices at the site.

"Most of the time what I see is like, cheap labor," said tenant Hassan Elmi. "I don't see big company building for him. If it's not cheap labor, it should not fall down like that."

Another community member is also concerned.

"Who approved these things? What would happen if today more than 4 or 5 people died?," questioned Osman Omar.

Minneapolis police said at a news conference following the collapse that the building appears to have proper construction permits. The building's owner dismissed those community concerns.

"Who can evaluate someone's bad work or good work, an expert, right?," said Sabri. "Accidents happen."

KARE 11 did find a list of code violations at the existing Karmel Mall building since 2012. A Minneapolis city spokesperson says no fines were issued and all were remedied.

Basim Sabri has a storied past. He was convicted in 2004 of bribing city councilman Brian Herron in exchange for help in a development deal. After 19 months in prison, Sabri went back to developing properties.


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