14 Arrested In Brooklyn Development Bribery Scheme
The NYC Department of Investigations announced the arrest of 14 individuals on Wednesday in connection with a series of bribes to cover up building violations.
According to DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters, two inspectors for the Department of Buildings solicited and received bribes of cash and, on at least one occasion, jewelry in exchange for ignoring code violations such as inoperable exit signs in eight buildings across Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens, the New York Daily News reports.
Also arrested was asbestos inspector Alexander Kogan, who accepted payouts of $1K to $3,500 in exchange for falsified reports. A plumbing inspector was charged with accepting payments in exchange for the use of his license in falsifying documents.
The names of the building owners and property managers who were arrested as part of an early morning sweep on Wednesday, when 13 of the 14 suspects were apprehended, were not released. Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez will prosecute the cases.
According to Peters, the violators bribed inspectors in the service of "expediting construction" to "make an extra buck." The buildings affected by the illegal inspections have not been identified.
The Department of Investigations is consolidating and expanding its operations with a move to 180 Maiden Lane in the Financial District. Its 276K SF lease deal was approved by Administrative Services on Sept. 19. The DOI will bring all of its employees, currently spread out in five locations, into one office, which totals 75K SF more than the five separate offices combined. Such an expansion is crucial for a department that has doubled in staff since 2014.