The Real Deal New York

BK landlord gets up to 6 years prison for bribing DOB worker

Herman Epstein is one of over 50 people charged in massive city bribery and corruption investigation
May 08, 2017 02:30PM

Cyrus Vance Jr. and 97-99 Stockton Street

UPDATED, May 8, 2:55 p.m.:  Brooklyn landlord Herman Epstein will spend up to six years in prison for attempting to bribe a Department of Buildings worker into removing stop work orders, violations and complaints from Epstein’s properties.

Epstein, 37, was convicted of bribery in the third degree in February. He’ll serve at least three years in prison, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

“Herman Epstein is a serial briber who has shown time and again that nothing — including criminal convictions — will stop him from cutting corners to make a profit,” Vance said in a statement. “He did not hesitate to pay for favors, ignore safety regulations, flout the law with seeming impunity, and even use aliases in an attempt to disguise his dishonest conduct.’

Epstein’s properties include 97 and 99 Stockton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant and 19 Park Street in Bushwick, records show

Epstein’s was one of more than 50 people charged as the result of a years-long investigation run by the DA’s office and the New York City Department of Investigation into a bribery scheme amongst city workers.  The inquiry into Epstein’s bribery of a DOB inspector in 2013 uncovered extensive corruption, according to Vance.

To date, 12 DOB employees, five Housing Preservation Department employees and 34 property managers, expeditors or contractors have been indicted.  They have been linked to around $450,000 worth of bribes connected to 100 residential and commercial properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, authorities said.

More than 40 people charged pleaded guilty, and two trials led to convictions. Six former building inspectors received prison terms, and more than $350,000 in restitution and fines has been ordered, according to the DA.

Last week, the New York Post reported that notorious landlord Steve Croman has accepted a plea offer that would see him serve eight months in jail and pay a fine of up to $10 million.  — Miriam Hall

Updated: Due to an error in the statement, an earlier version of this story stated Epstein was sentenced to up to seven years.