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NEW YORK CITY-James Delayo, the City’s assistant chief crane inspector with the Department of Buildings, was recently arrested and charged with taking bribes to allow cranes under his review to pass inspection and for collecting money from a crane company that sought to ensure that its employees would pass the required licensing exam, the authorities said.

The assistant chief inspector for the Cranes and Derricks Unit of the DOB was in charge of overseeing the issuance of city licenses for crane operators. According to a release issued by the Department of Investigation, Delayo is charged on felony corruption charges and is charged with taking the thousands of dollars in bribes over the past eight years. City investigators did not identify the company that allegedly bribed Delayo.

The DOI release claims that Delayo also provided advance copies of the written examinations that “would-be crane operators must pass to qualify for City licenses.” The case is being prosecuted by the Office of New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Although to date, there is no evidence in this investigation that the activity had anything to do with the recent crane collapses in New York City, crane safety is a major concern of the City, and is currently under a glaring spotlight. On March 15, as GlobeSt.com previously reported, a crane collapsed at East 51st Street and Second Avenue, killing seven. And on May 30th, a crane collapsed on a construction site near 91st Street and First Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, killing two construction workers. The DOB did not return GlobeSt.com queries by deadline.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says in a statement that “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.”

Mayor Bloomberg continues that “the DOB has made enormous strides in rooting out corruption over the past six years, but this case underscores that there remains more work to do. We are fully committed to eliminating all traces of the corrupt culture that long infiltrated the construction process, and I commend the Department of Investigation for its stellar work in this case. The arrest of this inspector is a good reminder to any City employee–or any private company–that bribery and fraud will be discovered and punished to the full extent of the law.”

Delayo is a 60-year-old Bronx resident, and has worked for the DOB since 1982. Commissioner of the DOI, Rose Gill Hearn, says in a prepared release that “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, leaving it in the hands of the individuals who paid him bribes, and rendered his inspectional job meaningless.”

Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert Limandri says in a prepared statement that “Employees who violate our Code of Conduct tarnish the reputation of our many hard-working employees at the Buildings Department. There is much work to be done with the Cranes & Derricks Unit, and we are in the midst of a full operational overhaul. Our number one priority is to ensure the Department’s staff conduct their jobs with the utmost integrity as we continue to forge ahead with our reforms.”

According to published reports, Delayo was released without bail after he was arraigned Friday. He entered no plea. His attorney, Lawrence Linzer, who did not comment to other publications, was unable to be reached for comment by deadline.

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