Update: A second inspector, 49-year-old Hugo Joel Gonzalez, pleaded guilty today to one count of bribery as part of the same case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 1.
Oops. This is what happens when you click “publish” before the spokesman calls you back. Anyway, contrary to a previous version of this story, which made light of the City News Service-reported fact that a building inspector who pleaded guilty to bribery was still employed, we just learned he's been fired, along with a co-defendant, Hugo Joel Gonzalez.
Also, Building and Safety chief Robert “Bud” Ovrum speaks, after the jump.
We're not sure what's scarier. Than an L.A. city building inspector now admits to taking thousands in cash to approve projects sight-unseen, or that he's STILL FRIGGING EMPLOYED.
You got that right. Sixty-year-old Raoul Joseph Germain of Altadena pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of bribery. He's on administrative leave. He hasn't been fired. [See above].
We have a call into the Building and Safety spokesman to figure out why.
Germain admitted that he took $6,000 in bribes between November 2010 and January. Unfortunately for him the person doling out the cash was actually an undercover agent.
The inspector never even set foot on the sites. He could see 10 years behind bars, but it's likely he'll do less since his plea was part of a deal in which he “cooperated and confessed,” in the words of a prosecutor.
The other defendant, 49-year-old Hugo Joel Gonzalez of Eagle Rock pleaded not
guilty and maintains his innocence. He's headed to trial next month.
Prosecutors claim he took $9,000 in bribes.
Federal agents began looking into the duo after receiving a tip that at least a few Building and Safety inspectors could allegedly be bought.
Added: In response to the allegations, Building and Safety general manager Robert “Bud'” Ovrom wrote this in his monthly newsletter to employees:
All of us hold our heads lower today because of the shadow a few employees have cast over the entire department, It is my belief that by dealing with these few accused employees all of our other employees will be able to stand a little taller knowing that we openly, swiftly and decisively identified our problems and corrected them.
First posted May 6.