A New York City Department of Buildings inspector has been charged with taking a $1,200 bribe in exchange for not citing a construction firm that had continued working despite a stop-work order, according to www.constructiondive.com.
Francesco Ginestri was charged Feb. 10 with solicitation and receipt of a bribe related to his agreement to ensure the DOB would not issue a $25,000 fine in connection with the stop-work order. He was released on a $150,000 bond; if convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.
According to the complaint, on July 31, 2020, Ginestri reinspected a construction site in Flushing, New York, after a stop-work order was issued for safety violations earlier that month. During a conversation with two members of the construction team, Ginestri showed them a piece of paper with a handwritten question asking whether work had continued. After the individuals confirmed it had, he told them not to worry and they could “reach an agreement.”
Ginestri solicited a $1,200 cash bribe from the site supervisor in exchange for ensuring the DOB would not issue a $25,000 fine to the company. The supervisor—who was promised a more lenient sentence in his own mail fraud and money laundering case for his cooperation—participated in calls to and a meeting with Ginestri discussing the bribe and providing the payment under the supervision of federal law enforcement agents.