- The workers are expected to be charged in connection with a variety of alleged corruption and kickback schemes
- Complaints against the employees accuse them of taking cash payments from contractors in exchange of NYCHA contracts
About 70 New York City housing Authority current and former employees were arrested in a federal raid after they received over $2million in bribes in what officials called a ‘classic pay-to-play’ scheme.
Dozens of employees and contractors were seen being taken away by federal agents in handcuffs after the raid on Tuesday morning. They are accused of using the housing system meant for the city’s poor to enrich themselves.
The workers are charged in connection with a variety of alleged corruption and kickback schemes, according to the Department of Justice, which has called the case the largest public corruption roundup in its history.
The accused employees are charged with bribery and extortion after ‘accepting cash payments from contractors in exchange for awarding NYCHA contracts,’ the DoJ said in a statement.
The charges amount to a single-day record for bribery charges for the Department of Justice.
About 70 New York City housing Authority current and former employees were arrested in a federal raid on Tuesday
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said 1/3 of NYCHA developments over the last decade were part of the bribery scheme
DA Williams said the current and former NYCHA employees are charged with bribery and extortion after ‘accepting cash payments from contractors in exchange for NYCHA contracts’
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said one-third of NYCHA developments were part of the bribery scheme from 2013 to 2023.
During the 10-year period, the accused officials allegedly took more than $2million in exchange for $13million in low-level contracts at over 100 developments.
The charges are linked to ‘micro-purchase’ projects for smaller repairs and other construction at city housing.
Local development managers can award city contracts under $10,000 without going through the public bidding process.
Officials claim the defendants typically demanded approximately 10 to 20 percent of the contract value—between $500 and $2,000, depending on the size of the contract.
More than 900 law enforcement agents participated in the arrests in New York and elsewhere.
The New York City Housing Authority is the country’s largest public housing organization, home to over 300,000 New Yorkers across 335 developments. It receives more than $1.5 billion in federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development every year.
Suspects Nirmal Lorick (left) and Tuesdai Gaskin
Suspects Rigoberto Charriez (left) and Nymiah Branch
Members of Homeland Security Investigations and New York City Department of Investigation lead the suspects arrested in the bust
The Southern District of New York said in a statement: ‘Today’s charges constitute the largest number of federal bribery charges on a single day in Department of Justice history.’
NYC’s Housing Authority has been faced with a series of issues in its aging properties – 175,000 apartments.
The buildings have been plagued by complaints of aging buildings, rat infestations, and leaky pipes, among others.
‘NYCHA has zero tolerance for wrongful and illegal activity,’ NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt said in a statement to The City.
‘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.’
DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber said: ‘As charged, these 70 current and former NYCHA supervisors and other staff used their positions of public trust and responsibility to pocket bribes in exchange for doling out no-bid contracts.
‘The extensive bribery and extortion alleged here calls for significant reforms to NYCHA’s no-bid contracting process, which DOI has recommended and NYCHA has accepted.’