Police arrested an FDNY fire prevention inspector yesterday after they say he tried to bribe a Buildings Department inspector to throw out a violation for illegal renovation work at his house in Brooklyn. Angelo Young, 47, is being charged with felony bribery and misdemeanor obstructing government work for a series of meetings he allegedly arranged to make the violation go away.
Department of Investigation officials say that the Department of Buildings flagged Young after he flashed his fire department shield in an attempt to get special treatment. On August 30th, officials say a DOB inspector doubling as an undercover investigator posted a stop work order and violation notice on the door of Young's Marine Park home, where he was allegedly doing unpermitted construction work. The following morning, Young allegedly called the inspector, told him he worked for the fire department, and after establishing that the order had not yet been entered into the DOB system, asked to meet.
Two days later, Young allegedly met the fellow inspector on a street corner in Bensonhurst, near Young's work. He allegedly told the inspector to get out of his car because it was "bugged," and insisted that the inspector leave his cellphone in the vehicle. But the inspector was wired up with video and audio recorders, which allegedly captured Young saying he routinely "squashes summonses" and asking for the same "courtesy" from a "fellow inspector." The encounter allegedly ended with Young arranging a second meeting later in September, at a time both would be off-duty.
On September 21st at around 5 p.m., the two met at a Dunkin Donuts on Flatbush Avenue at the edge of Marine Park, and Young allegedly told the inspector to place his phone on a side table, and questioned him about what he had in his shirt pocket. Apparently satisfied with the answer, he allegedly promised $300 in exchange for making the violation disappear. The minimum fine for work without a permit is $500 for one- and two-family houses, and depending on the nature of the illicit construction, redoing it to satisfy building codes can be costly.
Young allegedly arranged a third meeting for the actual payoff, this time outside the Dunkin Donuts. Investigators say Young drove up with a passenger in his car, and the passenger hopped out and gave the inspector an envelope containing a card—the criminal complaint describes it as a birthday card, but it appears to be a get-well card—and $300 in hundreds.
The undercover called Young afterwards and asked, "What's this?", according to the authorities, to which Young allegedly responded "Happy birthday."
The FDNY has suspended Young without pay and stripped him of his badge. He faces as many as seven years in prison on the bribery charge and one year on the obstructing governmental administration charge. A judge released him without bail yesterday, court records show. Young could not be reached for comment.
The DOB's online records still do not show a violation at Young's house.