From the NY Times:
Some wonder, if what he was doing was so blatantly illegal, why Scarano met with approval for so long. Robert LiMandri, the commissioner of the buildings department, said he had “no information that indicates that there was any sort of corruption” and that no employees were disciplined. Rather, he contended, the department was overwhelmed by a “frenzy” of building activity, and it relied on Scarano’s representations, which were often voluminous and confusing. At the time, the department had no way to punish him for lying. In 2007, though, state legislators, inspired by complaints about scofflaw architects, passed a law that allowed tough sanctions. “We really needed this stick to be able to say to people, look, there are no more cat-and-mouse games,” LiMandri said. The department created a new Special Enforcement Unit, focusing on Scarano as an initial target.
The city brought a new prosecution, a complicated case involving adjoining properties and supposed double counting of zoning rights, but then, in late 2008, a seemingly unambiguous bit of trickery dropped into investigators’ laps. Scarano was seeking a routine approval for a commercial building, which could not be occupied as long as an electrical pole was sitting in the middle of a new driveway. The architect submitted a curious photo of the building: shot from an off-center angle, it gave the appearance that the driveway was no longer obstructed. When the city sent an inspector to the site, he saw the pole hadn’t actually been moved.