Six former New York City building inspectors, two reputed leaders of the Lucchese crime family and nearly two dozen others have been charged in a payoff scheme.
Authorities say the charges are part of a sprawling racketeering case that ranges from construction bribes to gun trafficking.
An indictment unveiled Thursday includes allegations that building inspectors were bribed to void violations and lift stop-work orders. All the buildings in question have been re-inspected and are safe, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
The charges are the latest in a string of cases targeting construction corruption during the city's building boom.
Some ex-inspectors also are accused of drug and weapons trafficking, loan sharking and illegal gambling. They and 23 other defendants are to be arraigned later Thursday.
This summer, a published report said that at least six inspectors with the Building's Department had been videotaped taking bribes at construction sites, and some were seen dealing cocaine and prescription pills, according to the New York Post.
"This is going to be big," the paper's source said.
The arrests are the result of a two-year probe which spawned a 2007 New Jersey case involving a Luchese squad that ran a $2 billion-a-year gambling ring and supplied drugs and cellphones to Bloods members in state prisons, according to the Post.
Two inspectors are now allegedly cooperating with the investigation, sources told the Post.
Commissioner Robert Limandri said the inspectors caught on tape have been let go.
“The allegations are disgraceful and do not reflect the diligent work of employees at the Department of Buildings. Our inspectors are entrusted to protect the public from unsafe building conditions, and it appears that these inspectors betrayed that trust," Limandri said in the statement. "In June, the Department began re-inspections of all buildings associated with the inspectors in question, including visiting every site, and we expect to complete that process soon."