NYC Dept Of Investigation
NYC Department of Incompetence?
Want a good paying City Job, with access to lucrative bribes?
Go to Federal Prison for taking bribes,
and you might get hired upon release!
On the pages of our Corruption Issue (Click Here), there are charges that some view as unbelievable. And that is certainly understandable.
The Inspectors who worked on the DOI/NYCHA IG investigation, while having heard the rumors of corruption and incompetence, were still shocked at what went on.
But for those who have had no interaction with the New York City Department Of Investigation (DOI), here's an example of something that would once have shocked us.
Last week, one of Spotty's friends visited a construction site at 99th to 100th Street on Madison Avenue in uptown Manhattan. The site was a Transit Authority Bus Terminal.
This friend had recently retired as a NYCHA Contract Inspector. Emmanuel (Manny) Lawrence was the Field Chief under whom our friend had worked.
This friend was well aware of Mr. Lawrence's guilty plea in a Federal bribery case, as reported by DOI's own web site (Click Here) and copied below.
So imagine his surprise when he saw Manny Lawrence wearing a white Transit Authority hard hat, carrying a clipboard and inspecting the work!
DOI, the Agency charged with doing the background checks on City employees, seems to have forgotten that they were involved in prosecuting Mr. Lawrence "with soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with a program receiving federal funds [Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666 (a) (1) (B) and 2]."(emphasis added)
(It is the dumfounding things like this that can almost make one believe the current rumor running around NYCHA. The rumor says that some NYCHA Directors have ordered $600 reclining office chairs. Further, the rumor also said that items like this were going to be billed as part of the funds for the Trade Center recovery!
If anyone can confirm this, please contact us by voice/fax [718/745-0170] or email [Click Here]).
Read DOI's own Press Release (below).
Read DOI Commish's statement:
"These jail sentences send a loud and clear signal that charges of corruption against city employees will be thoroughly investigated and vigorously prosecuted."
Then wonder how anyone at NYCHA remains honest!
Department of Investigation
Release # 063-2000
3 NYCHA Borough Chiefs Sent To Federal
Prison For Bribery
Took $20,000 In Payoffs
From Contractors To Approve Inflated Change Order & Ignore Environmental
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2000
EDWARD J. KURIANSKY, Commissioner of the Department of
Investigation (DOI), announced today that three (3) New York City Housing
Authority (NYCHA) borough supervisors have been sentenced to federal prison on
bribery charges involving nearly $20,000 in payoffs from contractors working on
renovation projects at various NYCHA housing developments.
The three defendants -- EMMANUEL LAWRENCE, JOHN HONOHAN, AND CHRISTOPHER
BAMBERGER -- were all employed in NYCHA's Contract Administration Department
(CAD) and were charged in December 1999 in separate criminal Complaints in
Manhattan Federal Court with soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with
a program receiving federal funds [Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666
(a) (1) (B) and 2].
Commissioner Kuriansky said, "These jail sentences send a loud and clear
signal that charges of corruption against city employees will be thoroughly
investigated and vigorously prosecuted. It takes only one corrupt employee to
undermine the public's confidence in municipal government. These 3 housing
supervisors not only disgraced themselves, but betrayed the trust of both their
fellow workers and the residents of New York City."
LAWRENCE, who pled guilty on April 7, was sentenced yesterday in federal
court in Manhattan by Judge Denise Cote to serve 6 months in prison and 3 years
supervised release, and also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. HONAHAN, who pled
guilty on March 30, was sentenced on June 28 by Judge Allen Schwartz to serve 5
months in prison, 5 months home detention, and 3 years supervised release, and
also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and make $5,500 in restitution. BAMBERGER, who
pled guilty on March 16, was sentenced on July 21 by Judge Cote to a 4 month
prison term, to be served in a community confinement center, and 4 months home
detention, and also ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.
The sentences are the result of a 3-year undercover investigation conducted
by DOI's NYCHA Inspector General. The bribery schemes involved the defendants'
signing off on an inflated change order and failing to ensure that proper
environmental procedures for lead and asbestos testing were followed during
renovations. Individual payoffs ranged from $500 to $3,000, and each defendant
received total payoffs of between $5,000 and $9,400.
Commissioner Kuriansky said that the investigation was actively continuing
and urged all NYCHA employees and contractors to contact DOI's Inspector General
at NYCHA at 212-306-3355 with any information or evidence of wrongdoing.
According to Commissioner Kuriansky, CAD annually administers nearly $900
million in contracts awarded to private construction firms for the
rehabilitation of NYCHA developments. The types of rehabilitation work involved
include: new roofs, new boilers, new windows, security system upgrades, new
plumbing fixtures, and new kitchen facilities.
When NYCHA enters into such a rehabilitation contract, the contract has a set
price. If unforeseen expenses should arise while the contract is being executed,
then the contractor must submit a "change order" either to a field inspector or
a supervisor, detailing the extra time and/or materials required for the extra
work and the additional cost involved. A supervisor must then approve the change
order. After approval of the change order, NYCHA's Office of Quality and Cost
Control must determine if the additional cost is fair and equitable.
According to one of the Complaints, from December 1996 to April 1999,
EMMANUEL LAWRENCE was NYCHA's Chief of the Mechanical Field Operations for
Manhattan and the Bronx. His responsibilities included overseeing field
inspectors and reviewing and approving change orders. During the period, NYCHA
entered into a contract with a construction company for, among other things, the
renovation of bathrooms at a Manhattan housing development.
It was alleged that LAWRENCE met with the contractor and suggested to him
that he could receive more money from NYCHA by submitting fraudulent change
orders inflating the amount of plaster actually used during renovations and that
he, LAWRENCE, would approve any such change orders. The complaint charges that,
on at least 6 separate occasions between December 1996 and April 1999, LAWRENCE
accepted a total of $9,400 in payments from the contractor. In recorded
conversations, LAWRENCE claimed that he needed the money to pay off his American
Express bill and that he wanted to send his children to summer camp -- at a cost
of $2,100 per child.
Commissioner Kuriansky noted that CAD, in administering construction
contracts, has an environmental unit that employs inspectors whose
responsibilities include inspecting apartments at NYCHA developments to ensure
that required environmental procedures have been followed. For example, before a
contractor begins work on a project, the environmental unit typically requires
him to do a "pilot installation," in which repairs are made to one or more
apartments. If the inspector determines that the procedures used by the
contractor for the pilot installation comply with contract specifications, and
that the tests of air and paint samples are within acceptable limits, the
contractor is then permitted to proceed with the rest of the project. If,
however, the inspector determines that the contractor, in completing the pilot
installation, has not met contract specifications, the inspector can require the
contractor to do additional pilot installations until the work is found to be
acceptable. Such successive pilot installations can be time-consuming and costly
for the contractor, and, without the approval of CAD's Environmental Unit to
proceed, projects can be delayed substantially.
As charged in a second Complaint, JOHN HONOHAN, the area supervisor for CAD's
Environmental Unit for Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, met with a
contractor, who had been awarded a contract for replacing doors at various NYCHA
developments, on at least 3 occasions between December 1998 and June 1999, and
accepted a total of approximately $5,500 in payments. In one conversation,
HONAHAN assured the contractor that he wouldn't have to do a pilot
Finally, the third Complaint charged that CHRISTOPHER BAMBERGER, the
Environmental Unit's area supervisor for Manhattan and the Bronx, variously met
with a bathroom contractor and a door replacement contractor on at least 4
occasions between December 1997 and April 1998, and accepted approximately
$5,000 in payoffs in return for assuring the contractors that they would have no
problems relating to the testing of lead or asbestos and that if he, BAMBERGER,
received a "violations memo," he would throw it in the garbage.
LAWRENCE, 45, of East Church Street, in Bergenfield, New Jersey, was employed
by NYCHA for 14 years and earned $66,233 a year. He was terminated after his
arrest. HONAHAN, 38, of Berry Street on Staten Island, was employed by NYCHA for
10 years, and earned $55,945 a year. BAMBERGER, 47, of Mohegan Lake, Westchester
County, was employed by NYCHA for 7 years and earned $55,945 a year. Both
resigned after they pled guilty.
Commissioner Kuriansky expressed his sincere appreciation to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, and in particular to FBI Special Agent Elizabeth
Rosato, as well as to the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development, for their assistance in the
The investigation was conducted by Steven A. Pasichow, DOI's Inspector
General for NYCHA, and members of his staff, including Deputy Inspector General
Steven Gruberger, Assistant Inspector General John Kilpatrick, Special
Investigator Irwin Shanberg, and other members of the IG's Contract Fraud
The Office of Mary Jo White, United States Attorney for the Southern District
of New York, prosecuted the cases.
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