Former city Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich is expected to be hit with criminal charges this week as an investigation into him by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office wraps up, according to published reports.
Ulrich resigned from the administration last fall, just days after investigators with the Manhattan DA’s office served him with a search warrant, seized his cell phone and interviewed in connection with an illegal gambling probe. At the time, Adams’ spokesperson said Ulrich — in his own words — stepped down to “avoid unnecessary distraction” for the administration.
According to a report from the New York Daily News citing unnamed sources privy to the investigation, a grand jury convened by Manhattan prosecutors is hearing evidence against Ulrich concerning his possible ties to organized crime and financial malfeasance. The report cited a source who said Ulrich and his attorney were contacted by a prosecutor about testifying two weeks ago, an action that often comes before a grand jury is asked to decide on whether or not to bring an indictment.
A separate report from the New York Times, that also cited anonymous sources, said the DA’s probe into Ulrich focuses on bribery crimes from when he was still DOB commissioner. Prosecutors looked into whether Ulrich nabbed an apartment rental at below-market price and whether a couch was either given to him or sold to him at a discount by an individual with business before the agency.
A Manhattan DA spokesperson declined to comment or confirm impending charges when contacted by amNewYork Metro on Monday.
Ulrich’s attorney, Samuel Braverman, said he didn’t have confirmation on whether charges would be filed this week or what any possible charges may contain.
“Until I know what an accusatory instrument alleges my client did that is illegal, anything I (or anyone) says about such charges would be just a guess (and probably without merit), so I will wait until I see the accusatory instrument before I have any comment,” Braverman said in an email.
Ulrich, a Republican who formerly represented the Rockaway peninsula on the City Council, joined the Adams administration as a senior advisor when the administration took over City Hall at the start of 2022 and was elevated to DOB commissioner that May. He only led the department, which is charged with enforcing the city’s building code and issuing permits, for six months before resigning last November.
Following Ulrich’s resignation, Kazimir Vilenchik took over as acting DOB boss, with Jimmy Oddo taking over as his permanent successor in April.
Ulrich has kept a relatively low profile since he departed City Hall. In January, he took to Twitter to announce that he’s now a licensed insurance broker with Ocean Blue Insurance Agency in the Rockaways. He’s selling everything from property to auto insurance policies.