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College Point building inspector criminally charged with taking bribes to close complaints: DA
College Point building inspector criminally charged with taking bribes to close complaints: DA

A College Point man who works as an inspector at the city’s Department of Buildings is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for overlooking potential violations at various Queens locations on multiple occasions since January 2023.

Zabihullah Ibrahimi, 42, of 22nd Avenue, was arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on bribery and official misconduct charges for taking cash from homeowners and then closing complaints about their property. In one case, he allegedly asked for $3,500 from a property owner and, when she said she had no cash, he directed her to go to a bank and get it while he waited at her home, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

“When city officials charged with keeping the public safe decide to shirk their responsibilities in favor of lining their own pockets, everybody loses,” Katz said.

According to the charges, in his work as a DOB inspector, Ibrahimi responded to 311 complaints, inspecting homes to verify that alleged complaints existed and, if so, issuing violations. On Jan. 10, 2023, Ibrahimi visited a home on 111th Street in South Ozone Park to conduct an inspection of the basement. He took photos of the cellar and told the homeowner that her basement was illegal, and it would cost her a lot of money to legalize it and that he could fix it for $1,500. The homeowner then showed Ibrahimi $140 saying it was all she had.

Op-ed: An urgent call for revising NY’s criminal justice reforms to protect public safety

Apr. 11, 2024 By Council Member Robert Holden

In 2019, the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a controversial overhaul of New York’s criminal justice system by enacting several laws, including cashless bail and sweeping changes to discovery laws. Simultaneously, the New York City Council passed laws that compounded these challenges, notably the elimination of punitive segregation in city jails and qualified immunity for police officers. These actions have collectively undermined public safety and constrained law enforcement effectiveness.

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