A Long Island building inspector has been arrested and charged with taking a bribe from a homeowner who thought the payment was necessary to remedy alleged code violations, the Nassau County District Attorney's office said today.
Sheila Dotson, 65, of Hempstead, was arrested Thursday morning by and charged with third-degree bribe receiving, receiving reward for official misconduct and official misconduct.
Dotson faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. She is scheduled to be arraigned later today in First District Court, Hempstead. It wasn't immediately clear if she had a lawyer.
District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that on June 6, Dotson, a Village of Hempstead building inspector who was not scheduled to work that day, went to a private residence on Burr Avenue and falsely told the homeowner that the village building department had received a telephone called alleging various building code violations on the homeowner’s residence.
Dotson then told the homeowner that for $150 she could remove that address from the violations list. Dotson scheduled a follow-up meeting with the homeowner and prepared a false inspection report for the residence.
After taking the $150 bribe from the homeowner, Dotson provided a clean inspection report, despite never actually inspecting the residence.
The case was investigated by the DA’s Office after a referral from the Village of Hempstead Mayor’s Office.
“Sheila Dotson’s violation of the public trust comes at a time when everyone is tightening their belt,” Rice said. “It is outrageous that she would shake down the people she was entrusted to serve.”