Former Buildings Chief Accused of Bribery: The Eric Ulrich Scandal Unveiled

Eric Ulrich and Five Others Plead Not Guilty in Corruption Scandal

Rise to Power and Allegations

Former city councilman Eric Ulrich’s ascent through New York City’s government ranks was marked by allegations of corruption. Appointed as a senior adviser and later as commissioner of the Department of Buildings by Mayor Eric Adams, Ulrich stands accused of exploiting his positions for personal gain, accumulating over $150,000 in bribes and illicit perks. These rewards ranged from New York Mets season tickets and custom suits to artwork by a Salvador Dalí apprentice and gambling funds.

Legal Ramifications

Manhattan district attorney Alvin L. Bragg revealed that Ulrich’s alleged misconduct transpired over a mere two years, with court filings suggesting daily infractions against his oath of office. Ulrich, now facing 16 felony charges, including conspiracy and bribe-taking, has pleaded not guilty. Five other individuals implicated in the scheme have also entered not guilty pleas, while a sixth awaits arraignment due to Covid-19 symptoms.

A Widespread Scandal

The indictments portray Ulrich as a central figure in a web of corruption, leveraging his high-ranking government positions to expedite inspections, resolve licensing issues, and secure jobs and raises for friends and associates across numerous agencies.

Maintaining Innocence

Ulrich’s attorney, Samuel M. Braverman, vehemently denies the charges, emphasizing that his client’s integrity remains intact. Braverman contends that selective evidence and biased interpretations have unfairly cast Ulrich in a negative light.

Accountability and Fallout

Jocelyn Strauber, head of the city’s Department of Investigation, emphasized that public officials who misuse their positions for personal enrichment will be held accountable. While Mayor Eric Adams is not implicated, his appointment of Ulrich has come under scrutiny, given Ulrich’s ties to organized crime and documented issues with gambling and alcohol.

The Court Proceedings

During the crowded arraignment in New York State Supreme Court, restrictions on Ulrich’s travel were imposed. The five indictments collectively accused Ulrich and his associates of bribery and corruption-related crimes. Notably, one indictment focused on Ulrich’s failure to disclose ill-gotten gains on financial forms.


The other individuals involved in the scandal include Mark Caller, a Brooklyn real estate developer; Joseph and Anthony Livreri, owners of a Queens pizzeria; Michael Mazzio, who operates a Brooklyn towing company; Paul Grego, a permit and plan approvals expeditor at the Buildings Department; and Victor Truta, a former city correction captain.

Illicit Rewards

The bribes provided to Ulrich encompassed a bespoke suit, artwork, a discounted luxury apartment, and premium Mets season tickets valued at nearly $10,000. Cash from the Livreri brothers and Mazzio allegedly funded Ulrich’s gambling habits at casinos and an illegal gambling club.

Organized Crime Links

Law enforcement officials have identified connections between Mazzio, the Livreri brothers, and organized crime figures, prompting further inquiries into Ulrich’s relationship with these individuals.

Resignation and Impact

Ulrich, who had his phone wiretapped during the investigation, surrendered to the district attorney’s office and resigned six months after being appointed as head of the Department of Buildings. This department plays a crucial role in regulating construction, real estate, and development in the city.

Influence Peddling

Brooklyn developer Mark Caller faced allegations of using his relationship with Ulrich to expedite requests for his firm, the Marcal Group, and influence zoning changes in Rockaway Park. Caller’s firm has a substantial portfolio of units in underserved communities and collaborations with the city on affordable housing and medical facilities.

Legal Responses

Benjamin Brafman, Caller’s lawyer, vehemently denied any wrongdoing by his client and criticized the indictment’s basis. Lawyers for the Livreri brothers, Grego, and Truta did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Political Implications

Ulrich, the Livreri brothers, and Mazzio organized a 2021 fundraiser for Mayor Adams, further complicating the political landscape. Ulrich claimed that Mayor Adams warned him about the investigation, a claim the mayor denies. Investigators also wiretapped conversations involving Mayor Adams.

This unfolding scandal has shaken New York City’s political and administrative circles, underscoring the importance of ethical governance and accountability.

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