Supervisory Officials at New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Plead Guilty to Bribery Charges

Two former supervisors at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) pleaded guilty today to bribery charges in connection with a widespread scheme to bribe high-ranking HPD officials in return for lucrative construction contracts. Michael Provenzano, formerly HPD’s director of construction services, and Luis Adorno, formerly an inspections supervisor in HPD’s Department of Architecture and Construction Engineering, each pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Nina Gershon at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn, New York. As part of their plea agreements, Provenzano and Adorno agreed to forfeit to the government assets totaling $30,000 and $100,000, respectively, as proceeds of their crimes.

The guilty pleas were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Mary Galligan, Acting Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Robert Panella, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; and Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation (DOI).

HPD is the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the United States. As detailed in previously filed complaints against Provenzano and Adorno, Provenzano annually solicited and received $10,000 bribes over the course of several years from a general contractor with extensive HPD work in return for, among other things, providing HPD inspection reports to the contractor. This allowed the contractor to tailor his HPD labor requisitions and certified payrolls to the inspection reports to avoid being penalized for prevailing wage violations. Adorno solicited and received a $100,000 bribe from a general contractor in return for Adorno’s support in advocating for the contractor to be awarded HPD construction contracts.

“The guilty pleas announced today serve to vindicate the public’s interest in holding accountable New York City officials who turned their backs on those they were hired to serve—the neediest New Yorkers. These guilty pleas also mark our determined and continuing pursuit of corruption within the publicly-funded affordable housing sector,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Those who qualify for affordable housing deserve no less.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Galligan stated, “As alleged, these defendants flouted their responsibilities as city employees to profit personally. When public employees favor bribe-payers, inevitably the city and the public stand to lose. The city gets substandard goods or services or pays above market rates for them or the public is otherwise at risk.”

“Today’s guilty pleas illustrate the Office of Inspector General’s efforts to combat fraud and corruption involving taxpayers’ funds. The OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who commit bribery and falsify payroll records in order to circumvent prevailing wage laws to cheat their employees,” stated DOL Special Agent in Charge Panella.

DOI Commissioner Gill Hearn stated, “These two ex-employees lost their city jobs and are now felons who have admitted taking bribes. Their conduct shows the peril and foolishness of corruption. We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement and our colleagues in city government to expose, stop, and prevent corruption and protect the city and its taxpayers from this kind of abuse.”

Provenzano and Adorno each face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.

United States Attorney Lynch thanked the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS); the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for their cooperation in this case.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cristina Posa, Anthony Capozzolo and Claire Kedeshian.

The Defendants:

Michael Provenzano
Massapequa, New York
Age: 49

Luis Adorno
Scarsdale, New York
Age: 48