City News

FBI Bribery Probe of L.A. Building and Safety Inspectors, Supervisors Expands

Comments (0)


Tue, May 31, 2011 at 6:03 AM

click to enlarge cash_currency_bills.JPG
After two L.A. Building and Safety inspectors pleaded guilty to bribery this month it looks like the FBI is expanding its probe of the city department.

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the FBI wants to look at supervisors who were supposed to police the work of the likes of Hugo Joel Gonzalez and Raoul Joseph Germain, who were busted in an FBI sting for taking cash sight-unseen for construction approvals.

Along with those two, the city has placed two others on leave and is "looking at" 10 other workers as part of its own internal investigation, according to the paper.

A federal grand jury has already asked the city for personnel records on 12 Building and Safety employees and ex-workers such as Gonzalez and Germain.

A memo from department chief Robert "Bud" Ovrom to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa obtained by the Times blames the problems, in part, on early retirements that have pared experienced managers who ostensibly could have stopped such bribery in its tracks.

Building and Safety was "not always providing adequate training" to newer managers, he wrote.

An FBI affidavit indicated that bribery was "systemic" for inspectors. Ovrum wrote to the mayor that there are private contractors and land use consultants with "an unusually high working relationship" with some department workers -- and that angle should be probed.



Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Here's What Happens When President Obama Comes to L.A.
    President Obama came to town again to rake in some funds and clog some traffic. The only view of his visit you probably saw were the brake lights of the car ahead of you in the traffic jam he caused, but here's what was really going on. All photos by Ted Soqui.
  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.