One of the dirtiest scandals to hit City Hall in a while made headlines again today when a building inspector got 21 months behind bars for taking bribes to approve projects.

Sixty-year-old L.A. building inspector Raoul Joseph Germain was sentenced to federal time today after he pleaded guilty to taking a bribe in May.

According to a statement from Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney's Office:

… He took thousands of dollars in bribes to approve work done at residential construction sites in South Los Angeles, even though he had not inspected the work and, in some cases, had never been to the job site. Germain accepted $6,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent …

Gemain was also ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution.

The U.S. Attorney in L.A., André Birotte Jr:

Corruption at any and all levels of government is simply intolerable. In this case, a government employee betrayed the public trust and threatened an important public safety mission for his personal financial gain.

The FBI started to check out Germain and another inspector last summer after being tipped off:

The informant, who is described in court documents as a work site supervisor for a residential property developer, reported that building inspectors, including Germain, accepted bribe payments at the initial inspection stage of construction at residential properties and that the bribes covered all necessary construction inspections related to that property, up to and including final inspection.

The other guy, Hugo Gonzalez, also pleaded guilty and is headed for sentencing early next month.

Good luck.

The FBI is still sniffing around this, too, so this could just be the first wave of prosecutions.


LA Weekly