Years ago he took a bribe. Now he can’t get a license

Ex-inspector sues Department of Buildings for denying him a living

New York /
Jun.June 16, 2021 07:00 AM
(Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

(Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

A former city building inspector is suing the Department of Buildings after it denied him a professional license for lacking moral character.

Dean Mulzac was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2017 for agreeing to help a property owner get a driveway permit and accepting a small piece of jewelry. He was sentenced to one year of probation, fined $250 and ordered to resign as a Queens construction and development inspector after 13 years at the Department of Buildings.

“If everybody that has a misdemeanor conviction cannot work or get a license, a lot of people will be out of work and it’s not good for society,” said Mulzac’s attorney, Martin Druyan.

Mulzac, 56, sued his former agency last week. He maintains that he has good moral character and claims the department is retaliating because he was a plaintiff in a 2015 class-action racial discrimination lawsuit against it.

In 2020, the lawsuit’s 10 plaintiffs shared a $500,000 settlement, although Mulzac, because of his conviction, got just $15,000.

Mulzac says a construction superintendent license would allow him to make a living and support his family. His lawsuit notes that the jewelry that cost him his job was appraised and found to be worthless. Mulzac had written to the agency that the jewelry had cost between $1 and $100.

“A misdemeanor conviction does not define moral unfitness,” said Druyan. “You can be a police officer and have a misdemeanor conviction. You can work in many civil service and government jobs and have a misdemeanor conviction.”

The Department of Buildings assesses the moral character of applicants for a construction superintendent registration license but does not explicitly state that a misdemeanor conviction is grounds for denial.

“Although the department recognizes and appreciates the state’s interest in encouraging the licensure of persons previously convicted, the prevention of corruption and dishonest dealing with the construction industry is of paramount interest to the department,” wrote William Hinckley, executive director of licensing and exams at the Department of Buildings, to Mulzac in a denial letter.

Hinckley also said that in his application, Mulzac did not adequately detail his past misconduct, failing to acknowledge advising the owner on how to circumvent the city’s inspection procedures.

However, Mulzac said in his lawsuit that he never pulled strings or helped the homeowner evade rules. Mulzac admits that he should not have accepted the gift, which is why he pleaded guilty to official misconduct.

A Department of Buildings spokesperson declined to comment, citing pending litigation. The New York City Law Department did not respond to repeated requests for comment.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Photo Illustration of Paramount Group Chairman, CEO and President Albert Behler in a Manhattan Equinox (Paramount, Equinox, Getty)
    Despite rent-deferral agreement, landlord claims Equinox still won’t pay
    Despite rent-deferral agreement, landlord claims Equinox still won’t pay
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty, iStock)
    De Blasio bumps up city vouchers as state increase stalls
    De Blasio bumps up city vouchers as state increase stalls
    Donald Trump and the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago (Getty, iStock)
    Donald Trump is owed $1M tax refund on Chicago skyscraper
    Donald Trump is owed $1M tax refund on Chicago skyscraper
    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Getty)
    Democrats urge Biden to extend eviction ban after House effort falls short
    Democrats urge Biden to extend eviction ban after House effort falls short
    Photo Illustration of Donald Trump (Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    Treasury Department must give Trump’s tax returns to Congress: DOJ
    Treasury Department must give Trump’s tax returns to Congress: DOJ
    Mayor Steven Fulop (Getty, iStock)
    Jersey City to provide up to $10K more rent relief per tenant
    Jersey City to provide up to $10K more rent relief per tenant
    Susan Rice (Getty, iStock)
    Susan Rice to co-chair home appraisal inequity task force
    Susan Rice to co-chair home appraisal inequity task force
    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden (Getty)
    Tenant advocates frustrated with Biden’s eviction response
    Tenant advocates frustrated with Biden’s eviction response
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...