September 13, 2023
Ulrich Charged in Five Separate, Wide-Ranging Indictments for Accepting More Than $150,000 Worth of Bribes as New York City Councilmember, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, and New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner
Read the Statement of Facts Here
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber today announced the indictments of former New York City Department of Buildings (“DOB”) Commissioner ERIC ULRICH, 38, for misusing his authority in every public service position he held – as a New York City Councilmember, then a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of New York City, and finally as DOB Commissioner – to benefit his friends and associates in exchange for bribes. He faces five separate New York State Supreme indictments charging him with various counts of Conspiracy, Bribe Receiving, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing. He is charged alongside six associates, including business owners JOSEPH LIVRERI, 55; ANTHONY LIVRERI, 51; and MICHAEL MAZZIO, 54; real estate development CEO MARK CALLER, 51; DOB Filing Representative PAUL GREGO, 73, a/k/a Dominick Grego, a/k/a Domenick Russo; and former Department of Correction (“DOC”) Officer VICTOR TRUTA, 53; who face various counts of Bribery.
D.A. Bragg said: “We allege that Eric Ulrich accepted or solicited more than $150,000 worth of bribes in less than two years by monetizing each elected and appointed role he held in New York City government. At every possible turn, he allegedly used his taxpayer-funded positions as City Councilmember, then Senior Mayoral Advisor, and finally Department of Buildings Commissioner to line his pockets. Government officials must abide by the law and uphold their duty to the People of New York. Particularly when a public servant runs an agency that affects the lives of millions – from residents of apartments to the workers that build them – we must hold them to the highest standard. Thank you to our law enforcement partners at the Department of Investigation for helping us do so today.”
DOI Commissioner Strauber said: “Government officials who use their positions to enrich themselves betray the trust placed in them to act in the public interest. Eric Ulrich, as Buildings Commissioner, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and City Councilmember, monetized his influence in exchange for $150,000 in cash and gifts from the other defendants, promising them favors such as expedited inspections and City employment for their relatives, according to the charges. As this case shows, we will pursue bribery at any level of New York City government to the full extent of the law, and we thank the Manhattan DA’s Office for their longstanding partnership and shared commitment to our mission to eradicate corruption.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s Rackets Bureau’s investigation into this matter and included court-ordered electronic surveillance and search warrants, physical surveillance, testimony and analysis of financial and government records from various city agencies.
According to court documents, since at least 2021, ULRICH solicited and received more than $150,000 worth of cash and gifts from multiple sources, including JOSEPH LIVRERI, ANTHONY LIVRERI, MAZZIO, GREGO, and TRUTA. ULRICH also failed to disclose income on each of his annual financial disclosures he was required to file with the New York City Conflicts of Interests Board pursuant to City law from 2017 through 2021.
Joseph Livreri, Anthony Livreri, Michael Mazzio
ULRICH repeatedly misused his positions of authority as a New York City Councilmember, then a Senior Advisor to Mayor Eric Adams, and finally as DOB Commissioner to benefit his friends and associates in exchange for bribes, including cash to fund his gambling at both public and illegal casinos.
While he was a City Councilmember, ULRICH hired JOSEPH LIVRERI as a part-time aide until the end of ULRICH’s term in 2021. In 2022, as Senior Advisor, ULRICH attempted to secure JOSEPH LIVRERI a new position in New York City government. JOSEPH LIVRERI omitted or falsified information on employment documentation that would have disqualified him from working for the City, including his residency in Nassau County and his partial ownership of an illegal gambling club in Ozone Park called the 89th Street Café. JOSEPH LIVRERI acted as an intermediary between ULRICH and other co-conspirators, insulating ULRICH from the ongoing bribery scheme.
Between January 5, 2021, and November 1, 2022, ULRICH allegedly used his positions to benefit JOSEPH LIVRERI, his brother ANTHONY LIVRERI, and their associate MICHAEL MAZZIO. ULRICH:
- Expedited a health inspection at the LIVRERI brothers’ restaurant “Aldo’s Pizza” after they were closed due to multiple health violations.
- Helped remove a vacate order for the “Fortunato Brothers Bakery” after the business was shut down due to a fire at the LIVRERI brothers’ request.
- Attempted to resolve licensing issues with the Department of Consumer and Workers Protection for MAZZIO’s towing company, “Mike’s Heavy Duty Towing,” in part through attempts to influence the appointment of the Department Commissioner.
- Secured a position as a Policy Analyst in the Department of Correction for MAZZIO’s daughter, which included a raise of approximately $20,000.
- Gave his co-conspirators access to high-ranking officials within New York City government through invites to exclusive events and dinners.
In exchange, JOSEPH LIVRERI, ANTHONY LIVRERI, and MAZZIO gave ULRICH cash which he used in part to fund his gambling at public casinos and at the 89th Street Café, as well as a premium season ticket package to the New York Mets, valued at nearly $10,000.
Between December 17, 2021, and November 1, 2022, ULRICH also allegedly used his positions of authority to benefit CALLER, the CEO of the Marcal Group, a real estate development firm. Acting with the purported authority of the Mayor’s Office, ULRICH:
- Attempted to influence the NYC Department of City Planning in an effort to secure a zoning change for a commercial lot in Rockaway Park so the Marcal Group could construct a new mixed-use, residential and commercial building.
- Influenced the DOB and the NYC Fire Department to conduct an inspection of a multiple-dwelling building for low-income residents next door to the lot, in hopes of securing a vacate order.
- Connected CALLER to other high-ranking DOB employees to expedite various requests for Marcal Group projects.
In exchange, CALLER secured ULRICH a significantly discounted beachfront two-bedroom apartment in one of Marcal’s luxury buildings, with perks including full furnishing and a free parking space.
Between November 30, 2021, and November 1, 2022, ULRICH also allegedly used his positions of authority to benefit GREGO, a DOB Filing Representative, and GREGO’s clients. ULRICH:
- Assisted with the issuance of a “Temporary Certificate of Occupancy” to the owners of Ridgewood restaurant “Café Rum,” GREGO’s client, so they could secure a liquor license from the New York State Liquor Authority.
- As DOB Commissioner, attempted to hire and reassign DOB personnel based on GREGO’s requests.
- Connected GREGO to other high-ranking DOB employees to expedite his clients’ applications.
In exchange, GREGO purchased a bespoke suit for ULRICH, and procured a painting by Francisco Poblet – the last surviving apprentice of Salvador Dali – as a gift from ULRICH to his girlfriend.
Finally, ULRICH accepted money from TRUTA, a former NYC Correction Officer, to intervene with the former NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner in order to secure jobs for TRUTA’s family members.
Assistant D.A.s Guy Tardanico and Denise Vasel are handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Michael Ohm (Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau), Judy Salwen (Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau) and Jodie Kane (Chief of the Rackets Bureau and Acting Chief of the Investigation Division).
Assisting with the investigation were Investigators Alex Cinque, Jacob Diamond, Genesis De Luna, and Sean Lucas; Senior Investigators Gerald Bergold, Robert Mistretta, Anthony Santoro, Daniel Frooks, and Joseph Monroig; Former Senior Investigator Shannon Rowe; and Supervising Investigators Patrick O’Brien and Max Adler; under the supervision of Assistant Chief Rackets Investigator Michael Wigdor, Assistant Chief of the Investigation Bureau Jonathan Reid, and Chief Investigator Walter Alexander. Assistant D.A. Caroline Serino, Computer Forensics Analyst Laura Estevez, Former Investigative Analyst Philetus Holt, Investigative Analyst Robert Woolf, and Trial Preparation Assistants Alex Millard and Sara Scanlan provided assistance.
At DOI, the case was investigated by multiple squads, including the Offices of the Inspectors General for Elected Officials, Department of Buildings (“DOB”), Fire Department (“FDNY”), Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”), Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (“DCWP”), Department of City Planning (“DCP”), Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and Department of Correction (“DOC”), under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Initiatives Christopher Ryan and Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella.
 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.