New York City’s former top building safety official was arrested Wednesday on charges that he took cash, baseball tickets, a painting, a discounted luxury apartment and other bribes from at least five colleagues and repaid them with political favors and access to senior officials , including Mayor Eric Adams.

Former Building Commissioner Eric Ulrich and six co-defendants were arraigned on conspiracy charges related to a series of bribery schemes. Each defendant pleaded not guilty during joint arraignments Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan Criminal Court.

In addition to serving as Adams’ building superintendent, Ulrich, 38, was a senior adviser to the city councilman and first mayor.

In each role, Ulrich “used his taxpayer-funded position to enrich himself,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said at a news conference. According to prosecutors, he accepted about $150,000 in gifts and cash over two years, much of which was used to gamble at legal and illegal casinos.

Bragg and Adams are both Democrats. Ulrich, who raised money for Adams’ campaign, is a Republican.

Ulrich Resigned He resigned as city building commissioner in November, six months after he was appointed, amid reports that he was being questioned by prosecutors as part of an investigation into illegal gambling and organized crime.

He was named in five separate indictments on Wednesday. They accuse Ulrich of using his position to provide favors to his colleagues and ensure they had access to senior officials, including the mayor.

According to an indictment, shortly after Adams was elected, he met with Ulrich and two brothers, Anthony and Joseph Liverelli, in a Queens lounge.

The Liverelli brothers are now accused of bribing Ulrich. Prosecutors say they and tow truck magnate Michael Mazzio gave Ulrich cash, some of which he used to place bets at public casinos and private gambling clubs, as well as nearly $10,000 worth of Cosmopolitan money. Team Premium Tickets.

According to prosecutors, Ulrich helped the brothers expedite inspections and obtain permits for a pizzeria and bakery. They said he also helped Mazzio try to secure an exclusive towing contract with the city and find Mazzio’s daughter a job with the city’s Department of Corrections.

When the health department closed the pizza shop, Ulrich called senior Adams employees multiple times to schedule re-inspections and described the store as “the mayor’s favorite restaurant,” court documents show. The next day, Ulrich allegedly demanded $300 in cash from Joseph Livreri.

The mayor has not been accused of wrongdoing. Adams’ spokesman, Charles Lutvak, said in an emailed statement that the mayor “has not received any request from the Manhattan District Attorney regarding this matter and has never spoken with Mr. Ulrich about it.” pass this investigation.”

“We always expect all employees to adhere to the strictest ethical principles,” the statement continued.

The investigation also involves Ulrich’s relationship with Brooklyn real estate developer Kevin Kahler. Prosecutors said Kahle rented a luxury apartment with furniture and free parking from a building commissioner at a reduced price in exchange for political favors.

Among them, according to prosecutors: trying to get a zoning change that would fit the Keller Queens property plan and prompting an inspection of a low-income apartment building next door in hopes of ordering it to be vacated.

Caller’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said his client rented an apartment from Ulrich at market rate and never asked for anything in return.

Ulrich’s attorney, Sam Braverman, said his client unequivocally denies the allegations.

“When thousands of phone calls and documents are cherry-picked and cut into tiny pieces and then viewed with a guilty conscience, it can make anyone look bad,” he said.

According to prosecutors, one of the calls was answered by then-Building Commissioner Ulrich, who was speaking to the agency’s filing representative, Paul Grego, who was seeking a bail for his client. Preferential treatment.

In exchange for these favors, Greg allegedly traded Ulrich a painting by Francesco Poblete, Salvador Dali’s last surviving apprentice. Prosecutors allege that when calling Ulrich to alert Ulrich that the artwork was ready, Greg used a coded reference to a painting “that your daughter painted.”

“This is a picture of, uh, Salvador Dali,” he continued.

Ulrich joined the Adams administration in January 2022, initially as a senior adviser before taking over the building agency, which is responsible for enforcing building codes, issuing permits and responding to structural problems in a city of more than 1 million buildings. Emergency situations.

Ulrich previously represented Queens on the City Council, first winning his seat in a 2009 special election.


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