As one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country, dating over 140 years, DOI is a unique office charged with the task of rooting out and preventing municipal corruption within the City of New York. Often considered the City's "watchdog," DOI has had to re-define itself many times in order to combat the ever-changing forms of corruption.
After New York City's coffers were robbed of hundreds of millions of dollars during the Tammany Hall years, the New York State Legislature creates the Office of the Commissioners of Accounts on July 18, 1873, which is now known as the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI).
DOI is granted the power to issue subpoenas and administer oaths. These actions give the agency more clout and investigative capabilities.
The "Greater New York Charter" extends the power of DOI to all the newly incorporated boroughs.
John P. Mitchel appointed as DOI commissioner. He is credited with developing the investigative powers of the Office.
Raymond B. ("Fearless") Fosdick appointed as DOI Commissioner - first to describe Office as "the Mayor's eye."
Former DOI Commissioner John Mitchel, 35, elected Mayor. Nicknamed the "Boy Mayor," Mitchel delegates more responsibilities to DOI and appoints Leonard Wallstein as DOI Commissioner.
Commissioner Leonard Wallstein, who grows impatient with the slow pace of the District Attorney in prosecuting DOI cases, attempts to direct prosecution of corrupt officials. Wallstein arranges for warrants to be issued against a clerk and three inspectors who tried to have a professional pickpocket operate among the long lines of applicants waiting for licenses. The Chief magistrate and a representative from DOI present the case to a Grand Jury, who indict the three inspectors. The clerk flees the state.
For the first time, DOI encourages complaints from private citizens against public employees and officials, and begins to hold hearings based on complaints by employees of unfair treatment or dismissal.
A City Charter amendment designates the Office of the Commissioner of Accounts to be the Department of Investigation and Accounts.
DOI Commissioner Joseph Warren delivers 281 financial reports or audits to Mayor Jim Walker and criticizes the previous mayor for failing to audit the City's finances.
Mayor James Walker is forced to resign amid allegations of abuses and irresponsible conduct, including the suppression of several damaging reports. Walker had made effective, but selective, use of the Department. His abuses were uncovered by a State Committee.
Paul Blanshard is appointed DOI Commissioner by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia who said he would be "his eyes and ears." DOI Complaint Bureau established. Approximately 6,000 complaints received during the first year. DOI becomes known as the City's "Watch Dog." During the first three years of LaGuardia's administration, some 94 officials are ousted or resign because of investigations.
DOI assigned formal responsibility for supervising and regulating the City Marshals.
DOI's agency name formally changed to the Department of Investigation.
John Murtagh appointed DOI Commissioner. He considers job at DOI to act "as the bromo-seltzer for the Mayor."
The City Bureau of Marshals established in DOI.
The City establishes the Post Office "Box 100" anti-corruption program, which enables citizens to write directly to the post office box to report "graft or unethical practices."
Establishment of Executive Order No. 21, which, in part, requires applicants for all management positions and persons appointed to a position of a sensitive nature, "to complete a DOI personal history questionnaire and related investigation, prior to beginning employment." The Order also established a uniform method for each mayoral agency to handle allegations concerning "competency and integrity" of municipal employees, calling for one or more individuals to be responsible at the agencies for receiving these complaints and making them obligated to notify DOI about serious allegations.
Section 807 of the 1975 revised City Charter takes effect, requiring that the Commissioner of DOI approve the appointment of each Inspector General by the agency head and "promulgate standards of conduct and . . . monitor and evaluate the activity of Inspectors General in the agencies to assure uniformity of activity by them."
After a two-year demonstration period, the Corruption Prevention and Management Review Bureau is established within DOI. The objective of the Bureau is to identify systemic and management failures and correcting these, concentrating on corruption prevention.
Mayor Edward I. Koch issues Executive Order No. 16, which formally establishes Inspectors General to monitor agencies throughout the City. The Order gives the DOI Commissioner responsibility to direct certain crucial activities of the Inspectors General, who were required to report on criminal and other significant matters to the DOI Commissioner.
At Mayor Koch's request, DOI submits "Whistleblower" legislation to the City Council. The legislation, which was passed, afforded specific protection to City employees who report wrongdoing, corruption or criminal activity.
DOI begins to review routinely some 7,000 financial disclosure reports filed each year with the City Clerk.
Mayor Koch issues Executive Order No. 105, which places the Inspectors General Offices fully under the direction and control of the DOI Commissioner by integrating their personnel and resources into the structure of DOI.
Section 31 of the revised City Charter takes effect, requiring that the appointment of the DOI Commissioner be made with the advice and consent of the City Council. A provision was also added to Section 801, which stated that to remove a DOI Commissioner, the Mayor had to file the reasons for the removal with the City Personnel Director, provide a copy of this rationale to the Commissioner and allow the Commissioner the opportunity to present a public explanation.
Susan E. Shepard is appointed first woman DOI Commissioner by Mayor David N. Dinkins and becomes first commissioner subject to the City Council's "advice and consent" requirement. Commissioner Shepard is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief Counsel to the New York State Investigation Commission.
As a result of budget cuts, Commissioner Shepard restructures the Department, reducing the number of Inspectors General from the 21 in 1990 to 14 in 1992.
The Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation is created in response to growing public concern about corruption and misconduct in the New York City School District and was given a mandate to investigate criminal activity, unethical conduct, conflicts of interest, and other wrongdoing occurring within the school system. Edward F. Stancik is appointed to head the office.
First comprehensive Investigative Policies and Procedures Manual is issued. Investigative Training Committee is established to promote the continuing education of the investigative staff.
Howard Wilson, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is appointed DOI Commissioner by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Rogues, Rascals, & Heroes, a history of the first 120 years of DOI, is published.
New York City Housing Authority Inspector General Office is brought under the supervision of the DOI Commissioner.
As a result of the Mollen Commission hearings on police corruption, the Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) is created by Executive Order 95-18. The order directs the CCPC to work in tandem with the Department of Investigation.
Mayor Giuliani signs Local Law 50 to regulate the Fulton Fish Market, long acknowledged to be under the influence of organized crime. Subsequently, the Public Markets Unit is created within DOI to monitor activities at the fish market and at the City's other public markets.
After a DOI investigation exposes abuses at the Central Punitive Segregation Unit on Rikers Island, 11 Correction officers are indicted by the Bronx District Attorney and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for use of excessive force. This investigation led to the settlement of a civil suit against the City of New York for $1.6 million. In 1998, the City entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Legal Aid Society that guaranteed DOI would monitor CPSU for wrongdoing, review penalties assessed to staff members for violating regulations, as well as perform background checks for all employees.
Edward J. Kuriansky, former New York State Deputy Attorney General for Medicaid Fraud, is appointed Commissioner by Mayor Giuliani.
The Independent Private Sector Inspectors General (IPSIG) unit is added to DOI to insure contractor responsibility, especially in the construction industry.
As DEP's responsibilities increase substantially following the 1997 Memorandum of Agreement for the New York City Watershed to protect the City's water supply, DOI opens an Office of the Inspector for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Valhalla, New York.
DOI issues report: "A Limited Investigative Review of CCRB Case Processing Procedures: Missing and Mishandled Cases." The report details how "lost" or "improperly closed" cases of police misconduct were mismanaged by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The City sets up the Integrity Hot Line and establishes the Construction Compliance Monitor initiative. DOI appoints four monitors to oversee recovery and clean up at the World Trade Center site. The monitors are responsible for preventing and detecting fraudulent, wasteful or abusive practices at Ground Zero by any of the contractors working there.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg appoints and New York City Council confirms Rose Gill Hearn, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division for the Southern District of New York, as DOI Commissioner.
Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Gill Hearn announce the appointment of Richard J. Condon as Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District. The Special Commissioner's office is part of the Department of Investigation and is independent of the Board of Education and the Schools Chancellor.
DOI and Department of Finance ("DOF") create a joint anti-corruption task force charged with examining the property assessment function at DOF and developing recommendations to reduce the potential for future corruption. The task force is created after DOI arrested 18 current and former tax assessors on federal bribery charges.
DOI launches a comprehensive "Corruption Prevention/Whistleblower Protection" campaign for City employees. The campaign includes lectures and the distribution of printed materials to all City employees so they can learn how to recognize and report corruption. The agency also endorses a recent revision to the City's Whistleblower law that broadens both the category of the employees protected by the law and the nature of the type of report that would be protected.
DOI continues to spearhead a tort fraud task force that includes the Law Department and the City Comptroller's Office. The task force's goal is to identify fraudulent claims against the City, prevent them through a combination of criminal prosecutions, affirmative litigation and changes in procedures and reduce the opportunity for fraud. In 2002, the task force's work includes the criminal prosecution of a taxi driver who filed a $50 million lawsuit against the City erroneously claiming he was beaten by Taxi and Limousine Commissioner inspectors.
DOI works diligently to restore tens of millions dollars to City coffers for restitution and loss prevention from all of its cases. In 2002, more than $44 million is levied or recovered, either through court-ordered restitutions and forfeitures, administrative fines, asset recoveries or the reinstatement of summonses or reassessments. In FY 2003, DOI has identified more than $17 million to be realized in total restitution, fines, loss prevention, forfeitures and recoveries to all City agencies and other victims.
Mayor Bloomberg asks DOI to investigate allegations that members of the New York City Fire Department ("FDNY") at the Tottenville firehouse of Engine 151 and Ladder 76 tried to cover up an assault at the firehouse in violation of FDNY regulations and state criminal law. In March, DOI issues its report revealing that FDNY members did, in fact, cover-up the assault and that there was a breakdown in supervision at the firehouse and a complete disregard for FDNY regulations. Two FDNY lieutenants were penalized, a firehouse captain retired with a demotion and was fined, and a firefighter was convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to one year in jail.
A six-month DOI investigation leads to the arrest of 12 individuals who pretended to be dead to remain in their New York City Housing Authority apartments. Those arrested, many relatives of the deceased, kept the apartments for their own use – in some cases for 11 years -- submitting fraudulent documents and fabricating Social Security documents to make it appear that the leaseholder was alive and resided in the apartment.
DOI issues findings and a report on foster care provider, St. Christopher's, Inc., a Dobbs Ferry, New York-based, not-for profit. DOI finds the organization engaged in a deliberate process of changing, enhancing, creating and falsifying significant portions of foster care case files in order to deceive ACS in an annual audit/review of those records. As a result of the investigation, ACS moves to cancel $86 million in contracts with the provider. Read about The Department of Investigation's Examination of Foster Care Services Provided by St. Christopher's, Inc.
Several of DOI's high-profile public corruption cases culminate in prison sentences for the public officials involved. Russell Harding, who was charged in 2003 with siphoning agency funds at the New York City Housing Development Corporation ("HDC") and possessing child pornography, is sentenced to 63 months in federal prison. He is also ordered to pay $366,799 in restitution. As a result of this investigation, DOI and HDC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that establishes and funds an Office of the Inspector General for monitoring HDC.
New York City Department of Correction ("DOC") Bureau Chief Anthony Serra is sentenced to state and federal prison time as a result of a DOI investigation into his use of City employees to work for his personal business venture that provided services to political campaigns. The State charges were in connection with violating the New York City Conflicts of Interest Rules and misappropriating Correction property and equipment and the federal charges were in connection with tax evasion.
Bernard Kerik, former New York City Police Commissioner and Commissioner of the Department of Correction, pleads guilty to the misdemeanor crime of violating a New York City law prohibiting conflicts of interest by public employees. Kerik also pleaded guilty to the crime of failing to disclose loans obtained from a real estate developer.
In October 2006, DOI issues public findings concerning fraud and mismanagement at the City-funded Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. DOI found that Gloria Wise executives fraudulently siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit, including giving funds to an executive's private business venture; and routinely falsified records such as how public funds were spent to medical records of preschool children, including whether the children in the Gloria Wise nursery schools were actually vaccinated. Executives also attempted to conceal their misconduct and obstruct DOI's investigation by fabricating documents and misrepresenting the facts when questioned under oath. As a result of this investigation, Two of the executives, Charles Rosen and Jeff Aulenbach, pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Obstructing Government Administration in the second degree. Rosen also pleaded guilty to Forgery in the Second Degree. Read about The New York City Department of Investigation's Findings Regarding Fraud and Financial Mismanagement at The Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club
Following an 18-month investigation, DOI issues an exhaustive examination of 11 child deaths and one near fatality, revealing problems with the New York City Administration for Children's Services ("ACS") investigations and recommending that ACS strengthen its investigations of serious child abuse cases by hiring 100 additional Investigative Consultants. DOI conducted hundreds of interviews and undertook a comprehensive review of all relevant documents. The agency used its subpoena power when necessary and studied the 140-year history of ACS and its predecessor entities in connection with the investigation of serious abuse or neglect. DOI's conclusion was that vital child welfare investigations need to be thoroughly conducted and call for two types of expertise: the trained social worker and the seasoned investigator. Read about The Department of Investigation's Examination of Eleven Child Fatalities and One Near Fatality
In October, DOI holds the National Watchdog Conference at Gracie Mansion, a day-long national conference that drew City, state and federal Inspectors General and integrity scholars to share various approaches and methodologies for preventing and eliminating public corruption and identifying best practices.
DOI closed out the year with a record 848 arrests. DOI's work in 2008 included a variety of cases focused on fire and construction safety and wrongdoing at publicly-funded nonprofits. DOI dedicated substantial resources to intensive investigations of the fatal crane collapses at 51st and 91st streets, the fatal fire at 130 Liberty Street and the investigation into discretionary funds at the City Council.
DOI received a tip on its hotline right after inmate Christopher Robinson was killed in October 2008, which led to the discovery of organized beatings of inmates and, in January 2009, to the indictment of three correction officers and 12 inmates on charges of participating in an assault conspiracy. DOI's investigation found that adolescent inmates were beaten for such things as commissary money and use of the telephone.
In July 2009, former New York City Councilman Miguel Martinez pleads guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges as a result of a joint investigation by DOI and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Martinez submitted false invoices to the City and diverted funds from nonprofit organizations that resulted in a personal benefit to him of more than $100,000. Martinez resigned from public office and was sentenced to a five-year federal prison term.
As the result of an extensive investigation by DOI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and other law enforcement agencies, former labor leader and New York State Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin is sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for racketeering and was ordered to pay nearly $846,000 in restitution and forfeit more than $3 million. In a related case, a former Queens electrical contractor pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison for illegal payments to the former labor leader and State assemblyman.
DOI's focus on not-for-profit vendor fraud and the misuse of discretionary funding leads to successful and long-term results. Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn formed a special unit around this issue in 2007 after DOI conducted several investigations that exposed fraud at nonprofits by insiders and public officials. The unit consists of forensic auditors and investigators who follow the money trail. As of 2010, the unit's work results in more than 30 arrests and convictions.
In a case that rocked the concrete testing industry and the construction industry, Testwell, a concrete testing company, and its principals were convicted on charges stemming from their widespread falsification of concrete test results. The case exposed the enduring and widespread effect that false construction-related reports can have on public safety and confidence. The company was ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution and two of its principals were sentenced to prison terms.
Two significant, ongoing DOI investigations culminated in 2010:
- Using DOI's subpoena power and the skill of its investigators and auditors to trace the money, DOI exposed a massive fraud scheme in the implementation of the City's computerized timekeeping system. The investigation led to federal felony charges against six individuals, including several consultants on the project. The ongoing investigation included the continuing pursuit of assets tied to the multimillion-dollar scheme and resulted in eight convictions. Read DOI's Statement on Prison Sentence for FDNY Supervising Inspector Who Participated in Million-Dollar Day Care Fraud.
- Investigators exposed a prolific criminal network exploiting the City's publicly-funded and regulated day care program that touched at least three City agencies -- Human Resources Administration, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Administration for Children's Services -- and more than 30 day care centers. In all, 15 defendants were convicted, including seven City employees and eight day care owners. This investigation demonstrated DOI's unique role: pursuing the criminal investigation and allowing it to step in quickly and work with City agencies to safeguard the public. Even as the criminal probe advanced, DOI was there to immediately close the fraud gaps it found at the various City agencies, recommending unannounced site visits at the day care centers to confirm that the children for whom the City was paying were actually in attendance, rotating work locations of City employees to reduce the risk of fraternization between staff and clients, and conducting audits of files. In addition, DOI alerted the appropriate City Health officials to the need for prompt and thorough inspections of the day care facilities associated with the investigation. More than 20 day care centers were closed due to violations that were part of the fraud exposed by the investigation. Read DOI's Statement on Prison Sentence for FDNY Supervising Inspector Who Participated in Million-Dollar Day Care Fraud.
An outgrowth from a previous DOI corruption case led DOI to join forces with its federal law enforcement partners to expose a large-scale bribery and kickback scheme involving City Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD) programs, resulting in the indictment and arrest of an HPD Assistant Commissioner and six HPD developers and contractors. Because DOI's legal powers enable investigators access to City properties, books, and records, DOI was able to obtain and review key records such as personnel records, project files, and thousands of HPD emails covertly.
Four years ago, DOI discovered a host of delinquent fire code violations throughout the five boroughs on commercial properties and apartment buildings relating to such fire safety issues as blocked egress, dangerous wiring, and improperly stored flammable materials. Working with the City Fire Marshals, DOI began an annual initiative (undertaken throughout the year, including a targeted approach in October, which is Fire Prevention Awareness Month) to bring these violators who had failed to respond to a criminal summons to court. The initiative has the result of ensuring that the unsafe conditions are remediated. The effort was expanded in 2011 to include warrants involving building violations. DOI worked with the City Department of Buildings ("DOB") to track down and arrest violators who ignored or refused to remedy violations, including in illegal Single Room occupancies. The coordinated initiative, spearheaded by DOI, brought charged safety code offenders to justice, and highlighted the legal obligation of property owners and all persons to maintain safe conditions and respond in court to the City's legal notices of violations requiring corrective action.
In March, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn, and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announce the prime contractor on CityTime, Science Applications International Corporation ("SAIC"), will pay $500 million in a settlement of charges that SAIC engaged in fraud resulting in cost overruns to implement the City's computerized timekeeping system. In May, the City received more than $466 million in connection with the case. It is the largest known financial recovery in a state or municipal fraud case. Read the joint press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office and the New York City Department of Investigation ("DOI") regarding the U.S. Attorney's Office Entering into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement ("DPA") with Science Applications International Corporation ("SAIC")
In June, New York City's Global Partners Summit feature DOI's best practices for fighting corruption. The summit entitled "Public Integrity: Anti-Corruption Strategies, Economic Development and Good Governance," include representatives from 26 integrity agencies and cities from around the world. The two-day conference was developed in cooperation with DOI, featured Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor Edward I. Koch, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, and Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, and was attended by delegations that included Caracas, Dubai, Hamburg, Quebec, and South Africa.
DOI celebrates its 140th anniversary serving as New York City's anti-corruption watchdog. During the year, DOI launches a five-borough poster campaign that calls on New Yorkers who see corruption to report it to DOI. Review the campaign, 'See Something Crooked'
. The agency debuted a video on DOI's history and impact. To watch the video on DOI's history and impact click here
. And DOI held a public integrity summit that brought together leading scholars and practitioners from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States in a series of presentations and panels to discuss their work, latest research, and successes and challenges in the fight against public corruption. Click here to read more on the summit.
DOI hosts Watchdog II Anti-Corruption Summit at the Tweed Courthouse. The two-day international Summit in New York City focuses on anti-corruption strategies. Leading scholars and practitioners from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States are participating in a series of presentations and panels to discuss their work, the latest research, successes and challenges in the fight against public corruption, and various ways that academics and policy makers can work in tandem to root it out and prevent it. Read more about the Anti-Corruption Summit
DOI establishes the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI) at Columbia Law School, which will study corruption and accountability in government, keep current on municipal anti-corruption issues, and collect and provide information to the practitioner community. Read the related press release on the establishment of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity to study corruption and accountability in government
Mayor Bill de Blasio nominates and the New York City Council confirms Mark G. Peters, former Chief of the Public Corruption Bureau and Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau with the New York State Attorney General's Office, to be DOI Commissioner who takes office on February 18, 2014. Read about Commissioner Peters
Commissioner Peters announces the appointment of Philp K. Eure as New York City's first-ever Inspector General for the New York City Police Department, fulfilling Local Law 70
that empowers the DOI Commissioner to "investigate, review, study, audit and make recommendations relating to the operations, policies, programs and practices, including ongoing partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, of the new york city police department with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of the department, increasing public safety, protecting civil liberties and civil rights, and increasing the public's confidence in the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations."
DOI launches a probe into violence, contraband smuggling, and evidence tampering within the City's jail system, including on Rikers Island, the City's main jail complex situated in the East River between Queens and the Bronx. In 2014, DOI arrests nearly one dozen Correction Officers, supervisors and other staff, as well as more than 30 inmates, on an array of charges; and issued a report
that details a large-scale undercover investigation exposing serious problems with security screening protocols and contraband smuggling on Rikers Island. As a result, the City Department of Correction (DOC) agrees to enhance its security procedures, including for the first time implementing drug-detecting dogs at staff entrances, assigning Special Operations Division ("SOD") to oversee security at staff entrances, and the consideration of upgrading DOC search protocols to the standards employed by the federal Transportation Security Administration ("TSA"). This investigation continues into 2015 with significant results.
DOI and the New York County District Attorney's Office announce an indictment in a construction site safety fraud case
on charges of falsifying site safety inspections at multiple active construction sites in Manhattan. DOI also issued a detailed report on its findings, which can be reviewed by clicking here
. All of the defendants were convicted, including the owner of a company who received a sentence of between 1 to 3 years. Read the related press release on the sentencing of Richard Marini for facilitating fraudulent site safety inspections at multiple construction sites in Manhattan
DOI issues two more reports focused on problems within the City's jail system. One report focused on DOC recruitment and hiring procedures
, uncovering a deeply flawed system in which more than a third of officers were hired despite numerous corruption and safety hazards, including multiple prior arrests and convictions, prior associations with gang members or relationships with inmates. The report also found the Applicant Investigation Unit (AIU), which is responsible for screening potential recruits, relied on antiquated and haphazardly filed paper personnel documents and had little to no access to software necessary to perform basic background and credit checks. As a result, DOC replaced both its Director and Deputy Commissioner responsible for oversight of the AIU and responsible for the hiring of the applicants DOI reviewed, assigned additional staff to the screening process, and committed to an aggressive set of reforms in this area.
A second report issued during 2015 found acute failures by Corizon Health Inc. ("Corizon")
, a private company contracted by the City to provide medical and mental health services in Rikers Island jails, both in the contractor's hiring processes and treatment of mentally ill inmates. The investigation also revealed the DOC and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ("DOHMH"), both responsible for supervising Corizon, failed to properly oversee the company's hiring and supervision of clinical staff.
Along with the New York County District Attorney's Office and the NYPD, DOI announces the arrest of more than four dozen individuals – including 11 City Buildings Department and five City Housing Preservation and Development employees – in a widespread bribery scheme. The investigation began as a DOI undercover operation in which a Housing inspector alerted DOI about a bribe offer. The investigation found irregularities that raised questions about how buildings inspections had been conducted and led to the discovery of approximately $450,000 worth of alleged bribes in numerous schemes. Read the related release on the indictment of 50 defendants involved in widespread housing fraud and bribery schemes
DOI and the NYC Health + Hospitals sign a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") giving DOI control over a new Office of the Inspector General for NYC Health + Hospitals ("NYC Health + Hospitals OIG"). Under the agreement, NYC Health + Hospitals existing internal inspector general's office, which previously reported to NYC Health + Hospitals' President and Board of Directors, will now be under the full authority and supervision of DOI. A new inspector general will report to the DOI Commissioner. Read Announcement Agreement to Establish and Supervise New Office of the Inspector General
In 2015, DOI investigations have led to strengthening the City Department of Buildings' enforcement of the law governing façade inspections (Read DOI's report on façade inspections
), exposing the need for homeless shelter contracts to be brought under the City procurement rules and increasing accountability of these vendors (Read DOI's report on homeless shelters)
, and prompted agencies to work together on crucial issues such as homeless shelter inspections, construction safety, and safety in public housing developments, among many other outcomes. Read the full 2015 annual report
DOI joins the New York County District Attorney's Office, NYPD and the New York City Fire Department in announcing the indictment of a building owner and four others, including a contractor and plumber, in connection with a fatal East Village building explosion in 2015. DOI's role in the investigation exposes how fake documents and dishonest practices can lead to tragic results. Read the DOI Commissioner's remarks
and the press release on the investigation
DOI issues a report that details communications failures and a broken safety device in fatal 2015 elevator accident and broader safety problems. Read the report on elevator-related accidents and fatality at NYCHA public housing
Two investigations highlight critical problems with social service related programs. One investigation leads to the arrest of three staffers at a City juvenile home and finds inadequate oversight by the City Administration for Children's Services (ACS). Read the report about The Close to Home Program and the inadequate oversight by ACS
. A second investigation leads to a DOI report that finds investigatory failures and deficient casework
, lax oversight of foster care providers and a lack of data collection by ACS, raising serious concerns over whether ACS and its provider agencies missed opportunities to intervene before a child died or nearly died.
DOI's First Annual Anti-Corruption Conference convenes City, State, Federal law enforcement and integrity agency partners to discuss best practices, strategies, and solutions to enhance the outcomes of public integrity investigations. The day-long conference features New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Robert L. Capers as keynote speakers.
An investigation by DOI and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into the fatality of a construction worker results in the landmark conviction of a construction company for manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in the worker’s death. Read the joint statement
by DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., which discusses the unprecedented nature of this conviction. Read about the charges against supervisors and the construction companies that caused death of a construction worker.
DOI issues a detailed report on the City's removal of the deed restriction at 45 Rivington Street in Manhattan
finding communication failures and a lack of accountability involving the removal of a deed restriction in Manhattan that allowed the sale of a former not-for-profit nursing home site to a private developer of luxury condominiums. DOI’s investigation found that City Hall was both aware of and involved in the deliberations to remove the deed restriction and failed to stop it.
After reviewing highly confidential NYPD intelligence files never before subject to review, DOI found the NYPD failed to follow rules governing deadlines and authorizations of surveillance of political activity. Read report, An Investigation of NYPD's Compliance with Rules Governing Investigations of Political Activity.
DOI’s findings would later be used as part of a major federal decision by Senior United States District Judge Charles S. Haight, Jr., who said in his decision, “The OIG-NYPD Report describes a near-systemic failure on the part of the NYPD to comply with these particular Guidelines.” Federal Decision.
In a joint investigation with the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Financial Services Office, DOI arrests 13 current and former City employees in a series of insurance fraud schemes resulting in half a million dollars in combined false benefit claims paid out by the American Family Life Assurance Company, the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. Read more about the indictments of 13 current and former City employees in a series of insurance fraud schemes.
DOI continues its investigations into how the City Administration for Children’s Services has responded in certain cases to abuse and neglect allegations, releasing its findings related to the death of a three-year-old who was allegedly beaten to death. DOI found a depth of errors so significant that they went to the heart of ACS’s core mission to protect children. Read the statement of DOI's investigation into ACS's response to allegations of abuse and neglect related to Jaden Jordan.
DOI and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office announce the arrest of seven defendants, including National Grid employees, on charges of enterprise corruption in connection with the operation of a shadow utility company that illegally installed gas meters in violation of safety protocols. DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced the investigation during a press conference. Watch Video, "Press Conference on Shadow Utility Scheme." DOI also issued a report documenting how the crimes took place and the necessary reforms that need to happen to strengthen safety. Read the report, "Corruption Vulnerabilities at the Brooklyn Union Gas Company D/B/A National Grid NY."
A joint investigation of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, the DEA New York Division and DOI, as well as other state and City partners, leads to charges against three Brooklyn medical clinics, 13 individuals and two corporate entities in connection with pushing more than 6.3 million narcotic painkillers onto the black market and millions of dollars in fraudulently billed Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. Read DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters’ remarks at the press conference. This is one of the first publicly announced cases from DOI’s Health + Hospital Office of the Inspector General, a unit that DOI established in December 2015.
DOI issues a report that finds systemic misuse of City-owned vehicles by Department of Correction (”DOC”) executive staff. Within two weeks, DOI releases facts from another investigation that found members of DOC had engaged in unauthorized surveillance of DOI undercover operations. This investigation leads to a Citywide memo reminding agency heads and general counsels that they are legally mandated to cooperate with DOI. Read about the findings of an investigation of DOC staff engaging in unauthorized surveillance of DOI undercover operations.
DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters addresses the Global Cities Conference II at Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. As the keynote presenter, Commissioner Peters focused on the essential role of independent government oversight and the critical need inspectors general play in rooting out the facts. Watch the speech, "A Matter of Integrity" and Keynotes Remarks.
On November 16, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio nominated Margaret Garnett to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Investigation. At the time of the nomination, Ms. Garnett was serving as Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice in the office of the New York State Attorney General. Prior to her tenure at the state Attorney General’s office, Ms. Garnett spent 12 years as a federal prosecutor in the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where she was responsible for prosecuting gang violence, racketeering, organized crime, violent crime, international terror, and tax fraud.
New York City Council confirmed Ms. Garnett as DOI Commissioner on November 28, 2018. At that time, Commissioner Garnett issued the following statement:
“New York City deserves an independent, fair, and trustworthy Department of Investigation, dedicated to the highest standards. Today, I am honored and proud to become Commissioner of DOI and preserve its legacy of ensuring integrity in the City and inspiring the people’s confidence in their government. I thank the Mayor for his nomination and the City Council for its thorough questioning and confirmation. As a prosecutor and public servant, who has dedicated my career to conducting independent investigations, I understand that a DOI Commissioner must lead by example and set an exceptional standard; it is a responsibility that I will carry with me every day. Over the next several weeks, I am looking forward to meeting all of the career professionals at DOI – the investigators, the lawyers, the auditors, the analysts, and the administrative staff – who are the core of the agency. There is much to be done and I am grateful for the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the people of New York City.”
Read more about Commissioner Garnett and her executive team here.
Commissioner Garnett took office on December 10, 2018 and served as the keynote speaker at the City & State Ethics and Accountability Summit on December 13, 2018. Her keynote speech can be read here.