By SHANEL THOMPSON
A candidate for Manhattan DA on Thursday announced plans to create the first of its kind Labor Crime Bureau in the office if she wins the election– a long shot if she goes up against incumbent DA Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Diana Florence, one of the nine candidates in the race to replace the long standing DA (who is undecided on whether to seek reelection in 2021) greeted supporters in Foley Sq., a stone’s throw from the DA’s office, surrounded by union leaders
She had previously worked for Vance as a prosecutor, leading the Construction Fraud Task Force, but resigned in January after being accused of withholding evidence about a key witness in several major cases.
Florence’s proposed Labor Crimes Bureau would be tasked with investigating a range of issues including sexual misconduct in the workplace when it crosses the line into sexual assault and Worker’s compensation insurance fraud.
“The construction business, particularly nonunion construction, is like an ‘old boys club’ and this Labor Bureau will create a legal way to hold these abusive ‘boys’ accountable for their actions,” said Construction and General Building Laborers’ Local 79 member Tierra Williams.
So far, Florence claims to be the only candidate with any union support in a race which she says has not historically engaged the labor rights community and has recently gained the endorsement of her 10th union.
“Diana Florence is the only District Attorney candidate that fully understands the construction industry in New York,” said Robert Bonanza, business manager of the Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island.
Florence, who was born and raised in Manhattan and is a long-time resident of Kips Bay where she lives with her husband and two children began her career as a prosecutor 25 years ago in the Manhattan DA’s office.