The Real Deal New York

Housing inspector fined for peddling coffee, tea products during visit

HPD employee tried to sell to Section 8 recipient in 2014
By Claire Moses | Twitter_logo_blue copy July 20, 2015 05:20PM

A city housing inspector who thought he’d make some cash from his side business while on the clock was told to wake up and smell the coffee.

According to deposition papers, an unnamed Department of Housing Preservation inspector in May 2014 handed out his personal business card –– which stated that he is a “Distributor of Organic and Gourmet Coffee and Teas” — to a Section 8 recipient in one of the buildings he inspects.

The inspector, employed since 2006, admitted to the peddling in a deposition and was fined $1,750.

City employees are prohibited from promoting private businesses by using their positions as public servants.

The employee wasn’t fired. He instead paid $500 to the Conflicts of Interest Board. Remaining wages will be garnished from his paycheck, according to the deposition.

The city has dealt with employees who promote their side businesses on the job before, said spokesperson for the Conflict of Interests Board Bre Injeski. The side businesses are usually more closely aligned with the city’s day jobs, she added.