Dec. 15, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
A Woodside building owner was arrested for trying to bribe a building inspector to overlook several violations and could face up to seven years in prison, the Department of Investigations announced yesterday.
Susana Escobar Cardena, 65, was arrested on Monday for having occupants in several illegally converted rooms at her two family residence at 62-17 39 Avenue, and then attempting to bribe an inspector to overlook the violations, rather than vacating the property.
“This arrest exemplifies how bribery and corruption gravely undercut New Yorkers’ safety; in this case, creating seriously dangerous conditions, according to the complaint. Working with the City Department of Buildings, we successfully stopped the illegal conduct that could have had perilous results,” said DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters.
According to the criminal complaint, the DOB ordered the premises to be vacated in March after discovering three occupied illegal single-occupancy rooms.
During a follow up inspection, the investigator found the defendant on the property, and the three illegal rooms occupied. The defendant said she had nowhere else to live and the investigator offered to call the Red Cross to find her a shelter.
When the investigator asked for Cardena’s identification, she asked him to help her out and handed him $200 in cash. He told her it was not proper, and put the money on a table in the house.
After telling a colleague what had happened, the investigator went back in to the building and recorded a conversation with Cardena when she again handed him $200 to look past the dangerous conditions in the building.
The DOI and DOB vacated the property on Monday and relocated the five occupants of the building.
Cardena was arrested on Monday and arraigned on Tuesday in Queens Criminal Court, charged with Bribery in the Third Degree, a class D felony, and Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor.
If convicted, a class D felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year’s incarceration.
Cardena is due back in court on February 9.