New Public Integrity Hotline Will Allow New Yorkers to Easily Report Wrongdoing

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the formation of the Public Integrity Unit. The new unit will proactively investigate public corruption in government at all levels, including not only bribery and malfeasance by public servants, but also election fraud and criminal violations of state and local ethics laws.

“Self-serving criminal activity among public employees at all levels severely undermines the public’s confidence in our government,” District Attorney Vance said. “The new Public Integrity Unit reaffirms this Office’s long tradition of rooting out corruption at all levels.”

The Public Integrity Unit, which is organized within the Rackets Bureau, will oversee a new Public Corruption Hotline, which can be reached at 212-335-8987.

District Attorney Vance also announced the appointment of Assistant District Attorney Daniel G. Cort as the Chief of the Public Integrity Unit. Mr. Cort will be in charge of receiving and evaluating all complaints of public corruption that come to the Office, with the exception of corruption by uniformed officers, which will continue to be the province of the existing Official Corruption Unit. Mr. Cort joined the Office in 1995. He was appointed Senior Investigative Counsel in the Rackets Bureau in 2003, and Deputy Bureau Chief in 2007. During his tenure, Mr. Cort has secured the convictions of numerous defendants, including many lawyers and public servants charged with criminal wrongdoing.

The formation of the Public Integrity Unit is a part of a larger restructuring of the Office’s Rackets Bureau. The Rackets Bureau is and has been responsible for some of the Office’s most important cases in the areas of organized crime, all manner of public corruption, and other specialized cases. The Bureau, which was created on January 1, 1938, by District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey, will include three units: Public Integrity, Organized Crime, and Labor Investigations and Construction Fraud.

District Attorney Vance also announced the appointment Assistant District Attorney Michael A. Scotto as the Chief of the Rackets Bureau and a Deputy Chief of the Investigation Division. Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel was appointed the Chief of the Organized Crime Unit and Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer was appointed the Chief of the Labor Investigations and Construction Fraud Unit, both within the Rackets Bureau.

Mr. Scotto joined the Office in 1989. In 1994, he joined the former Labor Racketeering Unit, where he was appointed Chief in 2001. Mr. Scotto has prosecuted and supervised numerous complex cases involving corruption and organized criminal activity in labor unions and the New York City construction industry.

Mr. Seidel has been a state and federal prosecutor for more than 32 years. He joined the Office in 1999, and was named Chief of the Rackets Bureau in 2008 after having previously served as Deputy Chief. Throughout his long career, Mr. Seidel has investigated and tried numerous organized crime, homicide, narcotics, fraud, terrorism and public corruption cases on the state and federal level.

Ms. Fischer joined the Office in 1996 and successfully prosecuted a variety of street crimes, including assaults, burglaries and pattern robberies. She was appointed Deputy Unit Chief of the Labor Racketeering Unit in 2009. Ms. Fischer has investigated and prosecuted widespread money laundering and tax evasion by contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry, as well as corrupt enterprises and labor unions.

The unified Rackets Bureau will be located at One Hogan Place.