Former New York City Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich has been indicted on charges that he doled out favors in exchange for more than $150,000 in bribes, some of which went toward illegal gambling, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Ulrich, a former city councilman and onetime senior advisor to Mayor Eric Adams, surrendered to Manhattan prosecutors on criminal charges early Wednesday morning, his attorney Samuel Braverman said.
The 38-year-old faces five separate indictments charging him with various counts of conspiracy, bribe receiving and offering a false instrument for filing, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday afternoon.
What You Need To Know
- Former New York City Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich has been indicted on charges that he doled out favors in exchange for more than $150,000 in bribes, some of which went toward illegal gambling, prosecutors say
- Ulrich, a former city councilman and onetime senior advisor to Mayor Eric Adams, surrendered to Manhattan prosecutors on criminal charges early Wednesday morning, his attorney said
- The indictments also charge six of Ulrich’s “friends and business associates” with various counts of bribery, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. Ulrich pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday afternoon
The indictments also charge six of Ulrich’s “friends and business associates” with various counts of bribery, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said at a news briefing.
“As an elected official and government employee, Eric Ulrich’s duty was to the people of the city of New York — not his friends, not his associates and certainly not himself,” Bragg said. “Rather than serving the public, he used his roles to benefit himself and his friends.”
Prosecutors say Ulrich, who resigned from his position as Department Of Buildings commissioner last November, “repeatedly misused his positions of authority.”
As a city councilman, he hired a friend as a part-time aide and helped an associate secure the paperwork needed to obtain a client’s liquor license, Bragg said.
Serving as a senior advisor to Adams, Ulrich allegedly helped another associate — described by Bragg as a “tow truck magnate” — resolve city licensing issues, in addition to securing a city Department of Correction job for the associate’s daughter.
Ulrich is also accused of “pulling strings” to ensure two other associates’ companies — including a pizzeria and a bakery — passed inspections, Bragg said.
As DOB commissioner, meanwhile, Ulrich tried to help a real estate associate secure a zoning change to construct a luxury building in Rockaway Park in exchange for a discounted beachfront apartment, according to Bragg.
That apartment, a “premium” New York Mets season ticket package, a bespoke suit and a painting by Salvador Dali’s “last surviving apprentice” were among the bribes Ulrich accepted, along with “a lot of cash,” Bragg said.
“Most of it, we allege, went toward gambling,” the district attorney said, including at an “illegal underground casino” — the 89th Street Cafe — partially owned by one of Ulrich’s associates.
“Those are just some of the allegations across the five indictments,” he added. “The connective tissue, in sum, is that Ulrich is charged with trading these positions of authority up until the end of his public service — his resignation as DOB commissioner — which came after a court-authorized search warrant.”
As buildings commissioner, Ulrich led the department that enforces building codes, issues permits and responds to structural emergencies in a city with more than 1 million buildings.
Before his time as a senior advisor to Adams, Ulrich represented a Queens district on the City Council, first winning his seat in a special election in 2009.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ulrich posted a statement from his attorney to social media responding to the allegations.
"Throughout the process, Mr. Ulrich has maintained his innocence and today’s proceedings do nothing to change that. His integrity remains intact. When thousands of phone calls and documents are cherry picked and cut into small bits, and then viewed with eyes biased towards guilt, anyone can be made to look bad," his attorney wrote. "Mr. Ulrich unequivocally denies these charges and looks forward to his day in court where only the evidence matters, not charging documents or press releases.”