License Suspect Had WTC Repair Pass, But Port Authority Did its Own Work

by Bartholomew Sullivan
February 16, 2002,1426,MCA_437_989113,00.html


A photo ID pass for Sept. 5 found on one of the men charged with fraudulently obtaining a Tennessee driver's license from a Memphis woman gave him access to the six underground levels of the One World Center building.

But which tenant hired Sakher 'Rocky' Hammad, 24, to work on its sprinklers is lost, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Alan Hicks on Friday.

Hammad told federal authorities that he was working on the sprinklers six days before the twin towers were brought down by terrorists, court testimony revealed this week.

But Hicks said the Port Authority, which owned the building, did its own sprinkler work, and that any other work involving sprinklers would have been arranged by an individual tenant.

"We don't know (which one) because all our records were destroyed in the World Trade Center, as were some of the people who know that," Hicks said.

Small details about the five Middle Eastern men arrested Feb. 5 with Tennessee driver's license examiner Katherine Smith are slowly surfacing. Smith died Sunday in a fiery car crash, a day before she was to appear in court. It appears that Khaled Odtllah of Cordova shared the same 2840 Morning Lake Drive address at different times over the past year with Rocky Hammad, according to an online people finder database.

Odtllah and Hammad also spent time in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn in 2000 and lived about 22 blocks apart near New York Harbor.

Calls to the telephone number for Magic Plumbing and Heating Inc. on 93rd Street in Brooklyn were answered Thursday and Friday by a recording that said "Rocky's" voice-mail box was full. Hammad had the firm's business card, according to a government exhibit introduced at this week's detention hearing.

Hammad also had a New York City Police Benevolent Association card, a plastic Detectives Endowment Association Inc. for the Police Department of the City of New York card, two video rental cards, an ATM card and a First Consumers National Bank MasterCard.

Hammad's cousin, Abdelmuhsen Mahmid Hammad, also obtained a Tennessee driver's license last year. He's in the country illegally after overstaying a visa.

Venezuela-born Mohammed Fares, 19, allegedly told authorities that he needed a Tennessee driver's license to drive for Big Boss, an export-import clothing store in New York's garment district. Big Boss Enterprises bookkeeper Hussein Nasser said by phone Friday that he had received several recent inquiries about Fares, but that he'd never worked there. [CYA? Or did he apply for a job there?]

So far almost nothing is known of Mostafa Said Abou-Shahin, 26, a self-employed Egyptian carpenter living in the United State illegally.

All five men are being held without bail at the pretrial facility of the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis.


Copyright 2002

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