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June 26, 2015- By Steve E. Greer
With the delay of the new Parm restaurant on Vesey Street being caused by ConEd not giving them their gas permit, the topic of new building permits arose during a conversation that I had with some people in the industry. I heard an astonishing report of frank corruption among the ConEd inspectors.
One person experienced in the hospitality industry told us that ConEd inspectors were delaying the opening of a restaurant, then said, “We can move this along for $7,500.”. The same person experienced a similar shakedown at a different restaurant. All of this took place within the last 12-months.
Last year, several ConEd inspectors were busted by the city’s Department of investigations for taking bribes.
We have no evidence that the Parm restaurant ConEd delay was due to a shakedown.
In New York City, the various agencies that inspect buildings and provide crucial permits of operation have long been involved in graft. For example, in 2009, the New York State Liquor Authority was raided by the State Inspector General after a year-long investigation of corruption. Liquor licenses were being expedited by bribes.
More recently, the city’s Department of Investigations and DA Cy Vance rounded up more than 50 building inspectors for taking bribes. “The multi-agency investigation revealed evidence of approximately $450,000 worth of alleged bribes in numerous, separate schemes between 16 employees from the DOB and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development”, a real estate blog reported.