LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) — Former New York City buildings commissioner Eric Ulrich was charged Wednesday in five separate indictments with accepting more than $150,000 in bribes while serving in public roles.
Ulrich, 38, was accused of misusing his authority in every public service position he held – as a New York City Councilmember, then a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of New York City, and finally as DOB Commissioner – to benefit his friends and associates in exchange for bribes.
“We allege that Eric Ulrich accepted or solicited more than $150,000 worth of bribes in less than two years by monetizing each elected and appointed role he held in New York City government. At every possible turn, he allegedly used his taxpayer-funded positions as City Councilmember, then Senior Mayoral Advisor, and finally Department of Buildings Commissioner to line his pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Ulrich traded his positions of authority for Mets tickets, bespoke suits and cash, “monetizing these very important public service positions” for his own gain, Bragg said.
He “used each of these taxpayer funded position to line his own pockets,” Bragg said. “Eric Ulrich’s duty was to the people of the City of New York. Not his friends, not his associates and certainly not to himself.”
According to court documents, Ulrich hired his friend as an aide, made sure an associate secured a liquor license and helped another co-defendant’s daughter get a better job at a city agency.
In less than seven months as buildings commissioner, he attempted to help real estate developer Mark Caller obtain a zoning change and when buildings personnel resisted, Ulrich had them reassigned, court records said.
Most of the cash Ulrich took went to illegal gambling at an underground gambling hall in Queens. As part of the investigation, prosecutors seized a craps table and other equipment.
Ulrich resigned from Mayor Eric Adams’ administration in November after the district attorney’s office questioned him and seized his cell phone. Adams isn’t accused of any wrongdoing.
He was charged with six others: Pizza parlor owners Joseph and Anthony Livreri; towing company owner Michael Mazzio; real estate developer Mark Caller; buildings department filing representative Paul Grego and former correction officer Victor Truta.
All of them faced varying counts of bribery.
An attorney for Ulrich, Sam Braverman, said his client intended to plead not guilty in an arraignment scheduled for later Wednesday.
Previously, Ulrich represented a Queens district on the City Council, first winning his seat in a special election in 2009.
(ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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