A city Department of Buildings inspector has been charged with taking a $1,200 bribe to not issue a $25,000 fine, Brooklyn federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Inspector Francesco Ginestri, 36, faces one count each of bribe receiving and bribery, according to a federal criminal complaint.
“A building inspector who was entrusted with protecting public safety at city construction sites, instead exploited his position to line his pockets with a cash bribe,” Acting US Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement.
On July 6, 2020, the DOB issued a stop work order at a construction site in Flushing, Queens. After a re-inspection later that month, Ginestri rescinded the stop work order.
During a chat with the site supervisor and an unnamed construction worker, Ginestri bizarrely held up a piece of paper in the palm of his hand with a handwritten question, asking whether building had continued during the stop work order.
The site supervisor admitted that it had. Ginestri told him he could face a $25,000 fine for the violation — but not to worry as they could reach an agreement. Ginestri proposed a $1,200 payment.
The site supervisor, who was promised a more lenient sentence in his own criminal case for his cooperation, made a series of calls to Ginestri explicitly discussing the bribe while the feds listened in.
On August 24, the site supervisor met Ginestri at a Queens bakery and allegedly handed him $1,200 in cash as the feds watched.
Ginestri appeared in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday, where he was released on a $150,000 bond.
His lawyer, Daniel Russo, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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