D.A. Arrests 50 in Building Department, HPD, Construction Bribery Schemes

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    The Manhattan D.A. Tuesday announced it has arrested 50 in a sweeping sting for bribery connected to construction and housing in Brooklyn as well as elsewhere in the city. Those arrested included 16 employees of the Department of Buildings and Housing Preservation and Development, 22 property managers and owners (many in Brooklyn), six expediters, two contractors and one engineer.

    “Our investigation revealed a widespread network of corruption in the construction industry and among the city workers charged with keeping that industry safe,” said Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters in a prepared statement. “We found that these 16 City employees, including several senior supervisory staff, took bribes to clear code violations, including some that presented real safety threats. Today’s arrests shows that the city and law enforcement have zero tolerance for criminal conduct that undermines the city’s mandate to protect its citizens.”

    Many of the schemes involved unregistered expediters who paid off the Chief of Development for Brooklyn construction, inspectors and other DOB employees to dismiss stop work orders and other violations and make sure their buildings under construction passed inspections. Over at HPD, property owners and managers paid off city employees to dismiss an astounding number of violations at many dozens of rental buildings in Bushwick, Williamsburg and Bed Stuy. In two separate cases, HPD inspectors were bribed to evict tenants from two buildings with two separate owners in Bushwick under false pretenses of a nonexistent HPD vacate order.

    You can read all the details with the names of the charged here, although unfortunately the document does not list building addresses. Above, the Brooklyn Department of Building at 210 Jeroleman Street.

    Do you think the arrests will go a long way toward routing out corruption in Brooklyn construction and housing? Or is this just the tip of the iceberg? Is bribery in the building trades in Brooklyn the norm or the exception?

    Arrest and Criminal Charges in Widespread Bribery Schemes [Manhattan D.A.]
    Photo by Bridge and Tunnel Club

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