‘Line Their Own Pockets’: 70 Employees Indicted In Historic New York Public Housing Corruption Case
Jason Cohen | Daily Caller News Foundation
February 6, 2024
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that it had indicted 70 current and previous New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) employees on corruption-related charges.
The 70 federal bribery indictments were the most ever brought in one day in the history of the DOJ, with the department arresting 66 of the defendants Tuesday morning across four states, according to a press release. They are accused of accepting money from contractors in return for doling out lucrative no-bid contracts.
NYCHA is the biggest public housing authority in the United States, offering housing to 1 out of every 17 New York City residents through 335 developments, according to the DOJ. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gives NYCHA more than $1.5 billion in federal funding annually.
U.S. Attorney Williams on today’s charges against 70 current and former NYCHA employees: “Instead of acting in the interests of NYCHA residents, the City of New York, or taxpayers, the 70 defendants charged today allegedly used their jobs at NYCHA to line their own pockets. (1/3)
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) February 6, 2024
“Instead of acting in the interests of NYCHA residents, the City of New York, or taxpayers, the 70 defendants charged today allegedly used their jobs at NYCHA to line their own pockets,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in the press release. “This action is the largest single-day bribery takedown in the history of the Justice Department. NYCHA residents deserve better. My Office is firmly committed to cleaning up the corruption that has plagued NYCHA for far too long so that its residents can be served with integrity and have the high-quality affordable homes that they deserve. The culture of corruption at NYCHA ends today.”
The defendants were all NYCHA employees when they allegedly sought and secured cash for contracts, according to the press release.
Their alleged methods involved soliciting contractors to make upfront payments to receive contracts or making the contractors complete the job to get their payment from NYCHA, usually asking for 10-20% of the contract value, which fell within the range of $500 to $2,000.
Certain defendants asked for an even higher percentage, the DOJ alleges.
“In total, these defendants demanded over $2 million in corrupt payments from contractors in exchange for awarding over $13 million worth of no-bid contracts,” according to the DOJ. Many of the defendants could face a decade or more in prison.
“NYCHA has ZERO tolerance for wrongful and illegal activity,” NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The individuals allegedly involved in these acts put their greed first and violated the trust of our residents, their fellow NYCHA colleagues and all New Yorkers. These actions are counter to everything we stand for as public servants and will not be tolerated in any form.”
The DOJ did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.