Zerega DOB employee took bribes: DOI

Zerega resident James Delayo (above), a crane inspector with the DOB, has been charged with taking bribes for the past eight years. - Photo courtesy of the New York City Department of Investigation

A Zerega Avenue resident was arrested Friday, June 6 on felony corruption charges for allegedly taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a crane and equipment company over eight years.

James Delayo, assistant chief inspector with the New York City Department of Buildings, Division of Cranes and Derricks, was also charged with falsely reporting inspection of the company’s mobile cranes as well as generating false qualifications for its crane operators.

The Department of Investigation found, among other violations, the 1717 Zerega Avenue resident signed off on mobile crane inspections he never performed, provided a crane company answers in advance for machine operator exams and falsified an exam for at least one crane operator who never took the test.

“DOI’s investigation revealed the profoundly disturbing and sobering realization that a senior inspector responsible for ensuring that cranes operating in New York City are in proper condition, and are operated by qualified individuals, is charged with selling out his own integrity in a way that compromised public safety,” DOI commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said.

The arrest came on the heals of two crane collapses in three months that claimed the lives of nine construction workers in Manhattan.

To date there is no evidence that Delayo’s alleged actions are connected to the crane collapses on E. 51st or E. 91st streets in Manhattan.

However, Delayo’s arrest prompted an immediate response from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We have zero tolerance for any corruption anywhere in city government, and when corruption appears in a public safety agency like the DOB, it is all the more deplorable,” Bloomberg said.

 Delayo, 60, has worked for the DOB since 1982, and earns a current salary of $74,224.

 Bloomberg concluded, “We are fully committed to eliminating all traces of the corrupt culture that long infiltrated the construction process, and I commend the DOI for its stellar work in the case.”

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