The Real Deal New York

Expediters being charged in massive bribery scheme

Middlemen hired by developers often use illegal methods, investigation finds

February 23, 2015 11:30AM

From left: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and David Weiszer

From left: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and David Weiszer

In a case of serious déjà vu for New York City, a group of middlemen known as “expediters” are among those being charged in the massive bribery scheme centered around building inspectors.

Expediters receive money from developers to acquire building permits, address violations and fill out key paperwork — all as fast as possible, and often, through illegal means, the New York Daily News reported. The corrupt culture of expediters was first revealed fifteen years ago during a similar investigation, and prosecutors demanded that they be banned. However, the number of expediters licensed by the city has actually doubled since then, up to 3,200 from 1,600.

“Anytime you can’t interact with your own government without hiring someone to grease the skids, that means the system is broken,” said Daniel Castleman, a former Manhattan prosecutor who led investigations into expediters 15 years ago. “You’re going to see these cases every five or 10 or 25 years because the system is built in such a way that you gotta have an edge.”

Over the past several years, expediters have been cited for violations ranging from bribing officials with thousands of dollars to submitting doctored photographs. In most cases, the expediters are placed on probation and begin working again shortly after. In one case, a Brooklyn man named David Weiszer posed as an expediter paid a buildings department official $300,000 in exchange for clemency on code violations. He is now a fugitive.

Charges against 50 people including building inspectors, expediters and contractors were announced earlier this month. [NYDN] — Tess Hofmann

 

  • yup

    figures this David Weiszer fella looks the way he does…

    • Marc

      How does it figure?

  • Red R

    The whole expediter system is caused by a broken DOB where getting anything done is a truly wretched experience. Long lines, surly employees, lack of transparency and confusing rules make navigating it such a pain that honest people will pay honest expediters to pull permits just to avoid the torture. Some of these expediters begin to amass power and get cozy with employees and the corruption inevitably begins. If pulling permits for most everything could be done online with quick turn around times it would put a major dent in a system designed for abuse.

    • developer

      agreed one hundred percent

    • Phillip

      Those systems exist and the process is not justvas simple as pulling permits. Maybe you should do your homework before bloviating about topics you are not educated about

  • anon

    A fugitive who will never see the inside of a cell

  • Alex

    “Anytime you can’t interact with your own government without hiring someone to grease the skids, that means the system is broken,”
    This quote says a lot… when and how will the problem be fixed at its core?

  • Dan R

    This article as the Daily news piece is an example of irresponsible journalism. As in every industry in the world there are bad apples ie. Bad doctors, lawyers,teachers, and bad journalist aka Brian Williams. There are various companies who employ indivuals who otherwise might not jave a job to assist with preparing processing the tons of paperwork that is required to file applications in the city. Whether if it was done online or bu hand the paperwork required for permitting in the city is very intricate and involved as well as time consuming. Contrary to this article There lots of expeditors who do more than actually stand in lines for permits. You are talking about indivuals who actually study the Building Code and Zoning laws and actually find the answers to most if not all of the questions. developers and real estate professionals have in those areas. Its funny of the people who were charge in the recent rash of 50 arrest less than 10 of those were actually expeditors. And the expeditor on the run was nothing but a real estate middle man posing as an expeditor.

  • “In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!”

    As the author almost grasps, what do you call it when you repeat the same thing over and over again in the hopes of different result?

  • InformedDeveloper

    I would challenge the person who wrote this article to draw up plans for adding a bathroom to their office, file those plans, and get them approved at any of the borough DOB offices without the use of an expediter. 4 months later I guarentee the guy will have to write a retraction to this article.

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