Former New York City Buildings Department commissioner, Eric Ulrich, has been charged with accepting or soliciting bribes totaling over $150,000. Ulrich allegedly used his positions of power to benefit his friends and associates, while also receiving perks such as New York Mets season tickets, a custom suit, and cash for gambling. Manhattan prosecutors announced the charges and stated that Ulrich had used his taxpayer-funded positions to “line his pockets.” The charges were part of five indictments that also implicated six other defendants, including a real estate developer, pizzeria owners, and a towing company operator, who allegedly provided bribes to Ulrich.
According to court documents, the bribes given to Ulrich included the Mets season ticket package, a bespoke suit, artwork, and a discounted luxury apartment in Queens where he resided. Ulrich was also provided with cash by some of the defendants, which he allegedly used for gambling at public casinos and an illegal gambling club. Prosecutors have identified some of the defendants, including the pizzeria owners and the towing company operator, as having ties to organized crime. Ulrich had resigned from his position as commissioner when news of the investigation surfaced.
While Mayor Eric Adams was not charged in the case, the investigation has raised questions about his involvement since he appointed Ulrich and benefited from a fund-raiser hosted by Ulrich and some of the defendants. Adams denies warning Ulrich about the investigation and claims to have had no conversations with him about it. He is cooperating with the investigation and has stated that he will allow it to run its course. Ulrich’s lawyer has yet to respond to the charges, and some of the other defendants have asserted their innocence as well.