70 Current And Former NYCHA Employees Arrested, Charged With Bribery And Extortion

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OAN’s Abril Elfi
10:05 AM – Tuesday, February 6, 2024

As many as 70 current and former New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) employees have been arrested and charged in a federal investigation.


On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams announced the bribery and extortion charges against the dozens of employees, making it the biggest bribery bust in the Department of Justice’s history.

The purported conduct spanned from 2013 to 2023, and it is alleged that the defendants accepted cash payments from contractors in exchange for awarding contracts to NYCHA.

According to officials, contractors were asked to pay $2 million in bribe money by dozens of current and former NYCHA employees in exchange for performing more than $13 million worth of work at NYCHA buildings. Officials claim that contractors who did not pay a kickback lost their jobs.

Nearly 100 NYCHA buildings, or roughly 1/3 of all NYCHA buildings, have superintendents who accept and extort bribes for contractors as business as usual, according to officials.

NYCHA is the nation’s largest public housing authority, receiving annual federal funding in excess of $1.5 billion. One in seventeen New Yorkers calls it home.

It is alleged that the 70 defendants took advantage of their positions to enrich themselves.

According to officials, superintendents and assistant superintendents have significant influence over which contractors get small contracts for construction or repair work.

These contracts, which included plumbing and building repairs among other necessary work in NYCHA buildings, had a value of less than $10,000.

Since they do not require a competitive bidding process, the contracts are considered no-bid contracts. Alternatively, the contractor may be selected by the superintendent or assistant superintendent.

The superintendent or assistant superintendent had to approve the contractor’s work after it was completed in order for NYCHA to pay them. Rather, they are said to have insisted on getting paid in cash bribes in exchange for their share of the repairs’ approval.

According to officials, a large number of contractors paid these bribes because the suspects would have given the jobs to someone else if they hadn’t.

Authorities claim that dozens of NYCHA employees started engaging in this behavior on a regular basis.

“Contractors who paid NYCHA superintendents should not be afraid to come forward and speak out,” Williams said. “As the complaint today makes clear, many contractors have been brave enough to tell law enforcement about the bribes NYCHA employees demanded of them. Going forward, contractors should understand that NYCHA employees should not be asking for a single penny.”

The fraud allegedly increased the cost of minor repairs, misappropriated money, and damaged the confidence of public housing residents, according to the city’s Department of Investigation.

According to the U.S. attorney, there may be more arrests because the investigation is still ongoing with help from the Department of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

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