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California, the new capital of corruption

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by CodeWarrior, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. CodeWarrior

    CodeWarrior Registered User

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    California may be over regulated compared to other states. Their version of the IBC requires two volumes! Consequently, it is ripe for corruption.

    Back in March, the chief of the San Francisco DBI was forced to resign in a corruption probe. The Public Works director was also involved. Read more here:
    https://sf.curbed.com/2020/3/11/21174475/tom-hui-fraud-scandal-555-fulton-san-francisco

    This week one of the Los Angeles city council was arrested and the former head of the LA DBS may be next:
    https://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/la-watchdog-hidden/19993-la-city-hall-s-embarrassing-corruption-scandal-goes-way-beyond-jose-huizar

    Both cases involve Asian developers. May be these guys should go to other states where the regulations are less daunting and learn to adjust to the weather.

    Our nation has been stunned by protests evolving into riots and elected local officials looking the other way. In both the LA and SF cases, the FBI had to investigate, making one wonder whether the local DA would ever go after those city officials.
     
  2. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    would you like to go back and refer to the corruption posts from other states I have posted on this website?
     
  3. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    This is nothing new, they have been greasing councilmen's palms for decades
    The system is self defeating. You don't think the mayor (a former councilman) didn't know of this? He made Chan a deputy mayor.
     
  4. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Councilmen, Commissioners, Building Officials, Inspectors Plan Checkers, Planners
     
  5. CodeWarrior

    CodeWarrior Registered User

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    Most of the posts in this forum discuss some building inspector doing something crooked. In one case, the guy took a dive without personally profiting!

    Those mostly start and end with an individual. Maybe because local law enforcement needed a scapegoat, who knows. The cases in LA & SF uncovered syndicates of persons inside and outside of government. Here, the FBI did the investigations, even though the DA in LA is probably one of the biggest in the US. Perhaps because the scale of corruption was so huge and these cities are fairly large. I don't believe the FBI would investigate the small town I live in, but then these syndicates wouldn't bother with us either.
     
  6. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    You must be reading a different forum than i am. Almost every post i read here is a discussion about code compliance. Many of them include comments about AHJ making questionable requests, but crooked actions are rare.
     
  7. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    Would that was the case but they vary from coast to coast, state to state and city to city. Think about NY and "Him" or recently New Orleans and the hotel collapse or LV and all the casino construction.
     
  8. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    It happens, and to some degree it happens everywhere. But to make the statement that most of the discussions here are about corruption is like saying most people think this is the year the Cubs will win the Super Bowl.
     
  9. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    My money is on the Cleveland Indians.....soon to be known as the Cleveland Indigenous Peoples.
     
    #9 ICE, Jun 27, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    CodeWarrior and my250r11 like this.
  10. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    Rare is the building department employee that doesn’t have a story of corruption.
     
  11. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    Think about why we regularly hear reports of building department corruption. Why this is the case?
     
  12. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    Press loves to hear about them.
     
  13. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    Underpaid city staff. Difficult permitting process. Developers & builders trying to do it their way, rather than meet codes or zoning.
     
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  14. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    https://www.finehomebuilding.com/forum/how-corrupt-is-your-bldg-permit-dept

    Read the comments below the article; Long Island, NY; New Jersey, Portland OR, Oakland CA, LADBS CA.

    Fourteen people charged with bribing inspectors to speed up Brooklyn NY, development projects
    https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/city-inspectors-code-violations-brooklyn-bribes-article-1.3587917

    Former New York City Buildings Inspector Sentenced to 18 Months’ Imprisonment for Extortion Conspiracy
    https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/former-new-york-city-buildings-inspector-sentenced-18-months-imprisonment-extortion
     
  15. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    When I was in college a classmate told me about his relative that was a contractor in Reno Nevada. He said that the contractor palms a $50 bill and shakes the inspectors hand...each time that he shows up for inspection.

    Many years ago I took over running a construction outfit. We were building condos. It was in the early stages with maybe a 100 condos built and 400 more to go.

    I was told to build without stopping. I was told to not wonder about inspections as that was handled by the office. Well I did wonder and I found out that the inspector was treated to a hooker and a bottle with money taped to it whenever an inspection was due.

    I didn't like the idea that I was not getting a professional looking at what we were doing so I called the building official and had the guy pulled off my job. The new inspector was so new that he had braces on his teeth. In the long run, it was cheaper to get the kid because he wrote exactly two corrections the whole time I dealt with him.

    The first correction was during a slab and footing inspection. There was one closet bend that lacked foam wrap. The pour was a couple hundred yards set up for the next day, a Saturday. It was just he and I at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. I couldn't find any foam. The plumber's container was locked and the kid inspector would not sign the job card. We placed concrete the next day.

    A month later the kid inspector was back out for a framing inspection. He was primed. He started barking about the slab that was never approved. ..... Years later I attended school to become a building inspector. The kid inspector's picture was on display as a graduate. I don't think he would have been able to handle a hooker and a bottle of Jack Daniels.
     
    #15 ICE, Jun 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  16. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    Sometimes the temptation is too much for the person to resist. I had to investigate an illegal dwelling that was built as a second floor over a garage. The person that met me was a woman in her twenties. She was special....oh boy was she special. Decked out in next to nothing....her clothes better resembled gift wrapping than clothes. She stayed next to me like a hungry kitten. She said, "I will do aaaannnnyyyything if you let us keep it" It was a plaintive wail. Many times.

    I was taken aback not so much by the fact that it happened ..... but the woman was special ..... I was sorry that she was being pimped out.

    She got lucky that it was me. And I was running late. ;)
     
    #16 ICE, Jun 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  17. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    But why are some inspectors corrupt? It surely is not just the temptation.

    Could it be lack of accountability or being tasked with a task that is so massive that all that can be achieved are token efforts?

    How often does an inspector's supervisor do a follow up inspection? For cities that have engineers that do plan checking how often do those engineers visit the construction sites?

    If a city has more than one inspector how often do they move the inspectors around so the contractor does not always see the same inspector?
     
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  18. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    I may be a little naive, but I can see the latter....

    We had a restaurant (well 3 actually) that we shut down on a Friday night because the grease trap was overflowing into the parking lot, the Health director and I were talking to one of the owners in the parking lot and he walked away and the HD said something about the owner subtly offering a bribe and I must have missed it....My nature just must be such that I am not interested and figure it doesn't "really" happen, so now I wonder how many times it actually has....
     
  19. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    In PA with all the 3rd party inspection companies competing there are always suspicious things going on like campaign contributions to local law makers and kickbacks and contributions to the municipality. Nothing illegal but suspicious.
    Also mostly industry people on the committee that decides on what codes to void and making some up. We need 3 sets of code books from different years for different sections that were chosen to enforce plus a list of made up and voided codes to inspect here.
     
  20. rktect 1

    rktect 1 Gold Member

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    Cool, I am a diamond in the rough then.
     

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