DA Bragg targeting donors to NYC Mayor Adams in alleged bribery scheme involving former Adams' official

 September 13, 2023

Numerous reports over the past few months have revealed that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been closely investigating alleged crimes involving significant donors and fundraisers for New York City Mayor Eric Adams' campaign -- though the mayor himself is not accused of any wrongdoing.

One of the individuals targeted by DA Bragg with an impending criminal indictment is NYC real estate developer Mark Caller, who helped raise nearly $50,000 for then-candidate Adams in 2021, according to The City.

Caller is alleged to have engaged in a bribery scheme with a former official in the Adams administration, former Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich, by providing him with a below-market rate luxury apartment in exchange for official favors.

Real estate developer expected to be charged by DA Bragg

The City reported that it is as yet unclear what sort of official favors Ulrich is alleged to have provided Caller in exchange for the alleged discounted luxury apartment, but it is known that Caller was involved in significant development projects that required approval from the city.

Attention has been focused on an August 2021 fundraiser for then-candidate Adams hosted by Caller on the rooftop of his Brooklyn-based business, The Marcal Group, in which $47,050 was raised for the campaign, including more than $15,000 from Caller and members of his family.

That fundraiser event came just two weeks after Caller had received zoning approval for additions to a massive luxury condominium project in Rockaway Park, where Ulrich is said to have resided in a fifth-floor apartment for less than the going rates at the time of $3,000-4,100 per month.

If that’s what the indictment alleges then I think the prosecution is proceeding on a flawed theory," Caller's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told The City. "The apartment was obtained by Ulrich before he became commissioner, and to my understanding, he paid a market rent."

Former Buildings commissioner to be charged with bribery

According to a Politico report on Tuesday, Ulrich was criminally charged last month by DA Bragg in a sealed indictment that will be publicly revealed once the former official turns himself in to be booked and arraigned this week. He is expected to be charged in relation to receiving the discounted apartment from the developer as well as for alleged ties to organized crime and gambling.

"I truly and honestly have no inside information as to what the charges are. Anybody who says they know are lying unless they are the DA or a grand juror," an attorney for Ulrich, Samuel Braverman, told the outlet. "If I know what the charges are, I would comment."

Politico noted that at least four others, including Caller, are expected to have indictments issued or unsealed against them as part of the same ongoing investigation by DA Bragg into alleged corruption, including a pair of pizzeria-owning brothers named Anthony and Joseph Livreri, who were also fundraisers for the Adams campaign.

The New York Post reported that Ulrich previously served as a Republican city council member for years before crossing the aisle to support then-candidate Adams, for which he was rewarded by being named a senior adviser followed by an appointment to be the Buildings commissioner -- a post he held for just six months before resigning under a cloud of suspicion after his cellphone was seized by investigators amid accusations of mob ties and gambling debts.

Alleged ties to organized crime

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Ulrich turned himself in that morning to face two criminal indictments, though the specific charges and alleged crimes wouldn't be unveiled until his arraignment that was scheduled to take place in the afternoon.

The Times noted that the other individuals who are expected to be indicted are all alleged to have corruptly sought favors from Ulrich while he served as commissioner, including the developer Caller, the Livreri brothers, and towing company operator Michael Mazzio, with the brothers and Mazzio being alleged to have close ties to organized crime in NYC.

According to the report from The City, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams said in a statement, "As we have previously stated, we will allow this investigation to run its course and will continue to assist the DA in any way needed. And, while we do not discuss private conversations, to avoid speculation, the mayor has not received any requests from the Manhattan DA surrounding this matter and has never spoken to Mr. Ulrich about this investigation."

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