Saturday, November 14, 2009

RE: Being Outspoken

Dear Harold: Until we take our own individual responsibility and participate in cleansing our profession of these small number of corrupt engineers such as most members of Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board, the corrosion of reputation of honorable structural engineers such as yourself and thousands of hard working and ethical members of our profession will continue. Your suggestion of ASCE ethical panel looking into this is good one , but, in my experience, at least in two cases, the case of WTC Building Performance Assessment Team, and the Katrina investigation team, ASCE did not follow its ethical rules.

When ASCE formed the WTC Building Performance Team, to investigate collapse of World Trade Center Towers, two people were on the ASCE/FEMA BPAT team. One was Mr. Jon Magnuson , who was the top officer of the firm Skilling, Ward, Magnusson Barkshire , the firm that did the structural design of the WTC. The name Skilling Ward Magnuson Barkshire after collapse of World Trade Center changed to Magnusson Klemencic Associates. ASCE did not find it ethical to put the top officer of the firm that did the structural design of the WTC on the investigative team that was investigating why buildings collapsed.

The other member of the ASCE/FEMA BPAT was Ms. was Ms Saw-Teen See,Managing Partner, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, RLLP. Ms. See is also wife of Mr. Leslie Robertson who was working at the time of design of WTC at Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire and is the structural engineer of the record with his signature on all structural sheets. If ASCE is serious about ethical issues, it can start at home. When you are forming a team to investigate why a building collapsed, you do not put the wife of structural engineer who did the structural engineering of the building on the team to investigate her husbands design.

Of course the result of having these conflicts of interest was that the ASCE/FEMA Report stated that in essence there was nothing wrong with structural design of the WTC. The truth is the opposite . There were many things wrong about it including the use of "steel Bearing Walls" with very high strength steel and extremely vulnerable to fire.

As I have always stated, the 2595 people who died at the WTC, were murdered by those 19 murderers and their supporters and organizers. But, we had to learn from this tragedy to see if we have to change anything in our practices to avoid people loosing their lives because of our design. But of course, since there was nothing wrong with WTC design according to the morally corrupt ASCE BPAT, then we did not need to change anything!

When I stated that this is nothing but "moral corruption", many of you, including yourself, were attacking me for bringing up these facts. In doing so, or even by keeping quite, , perhaps unknowingly and perhaps based on a very mis-guided sense of pride or belonging to your profession, were on the side of the ASCE and some even personally attacked my character.

It took only the courage of my honorable colleague and very dear friend Professor Ray Seed , who wrote a 40+ letter to bring ASCE before an investigative panel which admonished ASCE for its unethical conduct in New Orleans.

As for the WTC BPAT case, ASCE not only has not accepted any wrong doing, it has showered awards on those who organized the WTC BPAT including the WTC BPAT leader Dr. Gene Corley and The ASCE WTC BPAT Project Manger Mr. James Rossberg who were directly involved in knowingly inviting and accepting Mr. Jon Magnusson and Ms. Saw-teen See with such a clear conflict to be a member of the investigative team.

Harold, we know each other for more than 20 years and I have utmost respect for your integrity as well as for your vast knowledge of the filed, but, do you really believe ASCE will be able to review the case of unethical conduct of Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board?

Best regards

A.Astaneh, Ph.D., P.E.


From: Harold Sprague <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Being Outspoken

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

There is an independent group within ASCE involved in anti-corruption. ASC=
E Global Principles for Professional Conduct that might warrant consultatio=
n on this issue. =20

Regards=2C Harold Sprague

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
* Read list FAQ at:
* This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
* Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
* subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
* Questions to Remember, any email you
* send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
* without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
* site at:
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********