It was a big day in the Big Apple earlier this week. The city cleaned up some of the riffraff inhabiting the city and stopped some of the bleeding from the city coffers.
New York City has famously been betrayed in the movies as a corrupt town where crime is often accepted as a way of life in the urban center. There are famous tales of crime families and government officials running day-to-day operations of the city and highlighting the glamour of a criminal lifestyle.
Most of these tales usually end in a bad way for the criminals. Reality mirrored fiction recently when the federal government brought the hammer down on city employees allegedly running a scam within city government.
From The Daily Wire:
Dozens of public housing employees in New York City were charged with bribery and extortion on Tuesday in a record for the largest number of bribery charges filed in a single day by the Justice Department.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged 70 current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The charges revolved around accepting cash bribes from contractors in exchange for Housing Authority contracts.
The amount of money involved was staggering. Those charged are accused of accepting more than $2 million in bribes from contractors seeking work on nearly 100 of the Housing Authority’s buildings in all five boroughs. Prosecutors allege more than $13 million in work was awarded, with the suspects typically getting 10% or 20% kickbacks, sometimes more.
“This culture of corruption at NYCHA ends today,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. During a press conference Tuesday morning he called it a “classic pay to play” scheme.
The scheme reportedly worked because much of the Housing Authority corruption involved smaller contracts that initially flew under the radar, like window or plumbing repairs. Local development managers can award contracts of less than $100,000 without going through the public bidding process where the contracts can be reviewed.
The actions of the suspects were called out by Lisa Bova-Hiatt, chief executive of the NYCHA.
“We will not allow bad actors to disrupt or undermine our achievements,” she said. She added that those charged “put their greed first and violated the trust of our residents, their fellow NYCHA colleagues and all New Yorkers.”
Those strong words likely won’t be enough to correct all the problems facing the NYCHA. The agency houses more than 500,000 New Yorkers across more than 2,400 buildings. The properties are functioning in a state of disrepair.
The agency has been called out for operating old buildings that contain rodents, leaky pipes, and broken elevators. There is also a backlog of hundreds of thousands of people on the housing waiting list. The New York City Housing Authority receives more than $1.5 billion in federal funding and is pegged as the largest in the country.
Where there is free government money, there is almost certainly criminal activity. The Department of Justice sent a strong message that messing with government funds can bring severe consequences.
- Big Apple bust nets most single-day bribery arrests in DOJ history.
- Dozens of New York City employees were arrested earlier this week.
- Those charged allegedly accepted a total of more than $2 million in bribes.
Source: The Daily Wire