DOB Head Eric Ulrich Resigns Amid Gambling Probe
New York City Department of Buildings commissioner Eric Ulrich resigned Thursday amid a probe into potential illegal gambling and ties to the mob by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, Mayor Eric Adams announced.
First Deputy Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik will take the reins at the DOB in the interim, according to the mayor’s office. No further details were made available by the Adams administration.
“This morning, Eric Ulrich tendered his resignation as DOB commissioner in an effort to, in his words, avoid ‘unnecessary distraction for the Adams administration,’ ” Adams spokesperson Fabien Levy said in a statement. “We have accepted his resignation, appreciate him taking this step, and wish him well.
“We have full confidence in the team at DOB, and the agency remains fully operational. No city services will be impacted,” Levy added.
Ulrich could not be reached for comment, and the DOB referred inquiries to the mayor’s office.
Ulrich, 37, was formerly a New York City Council member serving a district in southeast Queens and was tapped by Adams to run the DOB in May.
He was served a search warrant at his Queens home Tuesday by the DA’s office and had his cellphone seized amid allegations that he had taken part in backroom card games with members of the mob, according to the New York Post. Ulrich allegedly attempted to use his post in the City Council to pay back those gambling debts.
Bragg’s office declined to comment and did not confirm whether any criminal charges have been filed against Ulrich at this time.
The DOB has struggled under funding constraints imposed by the Adams administration, and the agency’s building and construction code enforcement has fallen behind over the past 10 months, Commercial Observer reported in early October.
The agency conducted only 130,000 construction inspections as of October, compared to 160,000 during the same period last year and more than 200,000 in 2021, according to a Citizens Budget Commission analysis of the Mayor’s Management Report for 2022.
The share of inspections that result in a violation has also declined to 25 percent, a 30 percent drop from previous years, meaning that the DOB has seen less cash flow compared to when former Mayor Bill de Blasio was in office.
On the staffing side, the DOB had a 22 percent job vacancy in June, with 1,535 employees compared to its 1,966 budgeted positions.
Mark Hallum can be reached email@example.com.