A corrupt Texas contractor bought off a tainted trio of city bureaucrats to win millions of dollars in contracts — and got away with it for an amazing 14 years, the city Department of Investigation said Thursday.
DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said the long-running scheme appears to have kicked off in 1999, during the Giuliani administration, and continued unabated almost through the end of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure, ending in 2012.
Flo Trend Systems of Houston showered three Department of Environmental Protection minions with $175,000 in bribes, including Las Vegas vacations, fishing trips to Montauk and Yankee season tickets.
During the Las Vegas trip, Flo Trend allegedly paid for one of the bureaucrats and his girlfriend to fly JetBlue, stay at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, and attend a David Copperfield magic show and a performance by the comedian George Wallace. Total cost: more than $1,500.
DEP Transportation Section Chief Dennis Jones, DEP project manager Bhaskar Sil and DEP section chief Thomas Bentsen were arrested Thursday and charged with bribe-taking.
Flo Trend was also charged Thursday. A company vice president, Carl Russell Caughman, was quietly charged last week.
In trying to explain how such a scheme could exist for more than a decade without being detected, DOI said the mid-level bureaucrats had total control over the procurement process and were subject to little oversight during all the time the bribe payments were flowing.