Former NYC Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich indicted on bribery charges

Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Former NYC Buildings Commissioner indicted on bribery charges
Former New York City Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich has surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney on bribery charges. N.J. Burkett has the story.

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Former New York City buildings commissioner Eric Ulrich was charged Wednesday in five separate indictments with accepting more than $150,000 in bribes while serving in public roles.

Ulrich, 38, was accused of misusing his authority in every public service position he held - as a New York City Councilmember, then a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of New York City, and finally as DOB Commissioner - to benefit his friends and associates in exchange for bribes.

"Eric Ulrich, we allege, monetized each elected and appointed role that he held in New York City government. Each and every one," said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Ulrich is accused of helping his friends and associates by facilitating things like zoning changes, and expediting inspections and certificates of occupancy. In some cases, job placement.

In exchange, prosecutors say Ulrich received more than $150,000 in cash and gifts. Among them? Season tickets to the Mets. And a sweetheart deal on a luxury apartment on the ocean in The Rockaways allegedly provided by Brooklyn real estate developer Mark Caller.

He "used each of these taxpayers funded position to line his own pockets," Bragg said. "Eric Ulrich's duty was to the people of the City of New York. Not his friends, not his associates and certainly not to himself."

According to court documents, Ulrich hired his friend as an aide, made sure an associate secured a liquor license and helped another co-defendant's daughter get a better job at a city agency.

"Thankfully, this investigation has not identified any public health or safety issues caused by the charge," Jocelyn Strauber said. "But make no mistake: The alleged criminal conduct does real damage."

In less than seven months as buildings commissioner, Ulrich attempted to help Brooklyn real estate developer Mark Caller obtain a zoning change and when buildings personnel resisted, he had them reassigned, court records said.

Most of the cash Ulrich took went to illegal gambling at an underground gambling hall in Queens. As part of the investigation, prosecutors seized a craps table and other equipment.

Ulrich resigned from Mayor Eric Adams' administration in November after the district attorney's office questioned him and seized his cell phone. Adams isn't accused of any wrongdoing.

Ulrich was charged with six others: Pizza parlor owners Joseph and Anthony Livreri; towing company owner Michael Mazzio; real estate developer Mark Caller; buildings department filing representative Paul Grego and former correction officer Victor Truta.

They all pleaded not guilty Wednesday to bribery and conspiracy charges.

Attorneys for Ulrich and Caller released statements denying the allegations.

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

(ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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