On Wednesday, September 13th, Eric Ulrich, the former building commissioner of New York City, was charged with accepting bribes valued at $150,000 for granting access to Mayor Eric Adams and city officials, resolving city permitting concerns, and appointing unqualified individuals to positions.
Ulrich, along with six other associates, face charges stemming from five distinct indictments presented by District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Wednesday.
While Ulrich and his fellow defendants have denied these allegations in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court, Bragg expressed that Ulrich allegedly exploited his roles in the city’s government for personal gain.
“Eric Ulrich, we allege, monetized each elected and appointed role that he held in New York City government, each and every one,” Bragg stated in a press conference.
In response to the indictment, the Mayor’s office has emphasized its commitment to ethical guidelines.
Spokesperson Charles Lutvak noted that Mayor Adams has had no direct involvement with the District Attorney’s investigation or any conversations with Ulrich concerning it.
The indictments suggest that Ulrich facilitated interactions between Adams and other city authorities. The bribes Ulrich received included gambling funds, New York Mets season tickets, a discount on a beachfront residence, a custom suit, and artwork from Franscio Poblet, a student of renowned artist Salvador Dali.
Ulrich’s attorney, Sam Braverman, critiqued the evidence-gathering process, suggesting it paints an unfairly negative picture of Ulrich.
After the court hearing, Braverman stated, “Mr. Ulrich unequivocally denies these charges and looks forward to his day in court.”
Other individuals who were also indicted include Mark Caller, a real estate developer from Brooklyn; Joseph and Anthony Livreri, proprietors of a Queens-based pizzeria; Michael Mazzio, who manages a towing company in Brooklyn; Paul Grego, responsible for hastening permit and plan approvals at the Buildings Department; and Victor Truta, an ex-captain from New York City’s Department of Correction.
Ulrich and his co-defendants were ushered into court by the district attorney’s office, handcuffed from behind. Mazzio, a co-defendant, was absent due to a positive COVID-19 test but was represented by his lawyer; his arraignment is scheduled for a future date.
Following the proceedings, all were released upon relinquishing their passports, with the stipulation that they inform the court if they intend to leave the state for over three days.
The extensive indictments accuse Ulrich of hastening a health inspection at a previously closed pizzeria and arranging a higher-paying job in the Department of Correction for an associate’s daughter.
Furthermore, while an adviser to the Adams administration, he allegedly pushed city officials to advance a beachfront project for Caller in Queens’ Rockaway section.
After Ulrich mentioned his housing needs, Caller offered him a discounted beachfront apartment at $2,000 per month.
The indictment further reveals that Caller presented Ulrich with an option to buy the unit for $55,000, below its market value. He also permitted the first year’s $24,000 rent to be counted towards the down payment and took care of the closing costs.
According to the indictment, the deal was valued at approximately $100,000.
Eric Ulrich, a member of the Republican Party, was part of the City Council from 2009-2021 and later joined Mayor Adams’ team. He then took on the role of building commissioner in 2022
The next hearing is scheduled for October 23, when Judge Daniel P. Conviser will decide on disclosing extensive wiretap evidence.