STATEN ISLAND — A school contractor was indicted after he tried to bribe a city official to speed up getting his payments, prosecutors said.
Abdulkader Kassem Elchoum, 55, of Staten Island, was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday on six counts of bribery after he offered a Schools Construction Authority project manager $3,500 to speed up getting paid for his work, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said.
Elchoum, who owns AMA Construction/NY, Inc., won a $2.478 million contract in 2014 to build a new corridor, upgrade the fire alarm and work on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at P.S. 138 in Crown Heights, prosecutors said.
Since the SCA generally pays out the money to contractors in increments, Elchoum paid the project officer $3,500 to get some of the money quicker and limit the agency's scrutiny of AMA's work, prosecutors said.
"This indictment shows our commitment to root out and prosecute public corruption in Brooklyn," DA Ken Thompson said. "It also serves to put construction companies awarded city contracts on notice that we will fully investigate and prosecute any acts of bribery."
Elchoum faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the charges. He was released without bail and is due back in court on Dec. 8, the DA's office said.
"My client is a wonderful, decent human being," his lawyer Robert Osuna said, adding he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.
"An indictment is nothing but an allegation and we're working with the prosecution for a favorable result for my client."