BROOKLYN — A city air pollution inspector was busted for soliciting a bribe from a Brooklyn construction site after threatening to impose a stop work order, officials said Wednesday.
Sean Richardson-Daniel, 53, was inspecting 222 Pulaski St. on Dec. 4, 2015 when he told an informant he believed was a property representative that he would issue the stop work order unless he received $15,000 in cash, even though there were no active Department of Environmental Protection complaints against the property, according to the Department of Investigation.
“By allegedly soliciting a cash bribe from an owner at a construction site this defendant facilitated shortcuts that could endanger lives and undermine the public’s trust in city government,” said acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez
“Honest inspections keep workers and citizens safe, especially now during Brooklyn’s booming real estate market.”
The 16-year veteran inspector went back to the property on Dec. 7, 2015 when he was caught on a wire telling the informant, “I’ll look out for you as much as I could. I’m going to be in the area for the next two months,” according to DOI.
The informant then handed the inspector $1,500 inside a white envelope before Richardson-Daniel got inside the informant’s car, counted out the cash and accepted the bribe, officials said.
Then on Nov. 28, 2016, DEP officials found a pair of brass knuckles inside the inspector's city vehicle while it was inside a maintenance facility. When confronted, Richardson-Daniel said he found the weapon on the sidewalk about six weeks prior and left the brass knuckles in his car.
Richardson-Daniel was charged with bribery and weapons possession. He was expected to be arraigned Wednesday night or Thursday morning in Brooklyn Criminal Court.
It was not immediately clear why there was such a long period between his allegedly accepting a bribe and being arrested.
The inspector was earning an annual salary of $50,000 before resigning from his position on Jan. 3.
There was no immediate information on Richardson-Daniel's lawyer.
The DEP did not respond to an immediate request for comment.