2 New York City buildings inspectors, 12 others arrested in construction scheme

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Building inspectors arrested in Brooklyn
A.J. Ross reports on the multiple arrests.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Working in tandem with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office the Department of Investigation recently uncovered three different construction schemes involving more than a dozen property managers, developers, and inspectors.

"There is an unquestionable, unbreakable link between construction integrity and safety," said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters.

According to indictments released Wednesday, two New York City buildings inspectors, 55-year-old Hiram Beza and 53-year-old Dean Mulzac, allegedly overlooked violations approving properties under construction in Brooklyn and Queens in exchange for cash and gifts. Beza also allegedly received a new kitchen and driveway for his write-offs.

MUGSHOTS: 14 charged in construction scheme

"People who engage in these schemes show complete disregard not just for their own personal integrity but for the rule of law and the personal well being of every person living working and even visiting Brooklyn," said Eric Gonzalez, Brooklyn District Attorney.

Another probe revealed 60-year-old Alex Kogan, a certified independent asbestos investigator, allegedly charged between $1,000-$3,500 for a fraudulent passing asbestos report. In some cases, inspectors say Kogan never even checked if asbestos was present or only stayed on the construction site for five minutes.

"Only timely intervention by DOI stopped construction that would've disturbed the asbestos," Peters said.

In a separate scheme, investigators say licensed master plumber Henry Samuels allegedly sold his license to unpermitted workers for between $1,000-$2,000.

"Fabricating documents, lying about conducting investigations, or who is actually doing the work has serious consequences," Peters said.

Investigators say fortunately to date, none of the construction shortcuts have resulted in health hazards or work related injuries.