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Feds: City officials arraigned for alleged bribe receiving

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Two Department of Housing Preservation and Development employees tried to build a house out of lies, corruption, and bribes, prosecutors said on Monday as they arraigned the city workers for taking bribes.

Prosecutors claim that Michael Provenzano, the agency’s Director of Construction Services, received $10,000 a year for five years for providing contractors with classified documents. Former inspections supervisor Luis Adorno also faces bribery charges. Prosecutors say he took $100,000 to award a construction company exclusive contracts from the city’s development agency.

“The defendants allegedly took bribes from a contractor and provided information on inspections in an effort to pad their own wallets or lifestyle,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk, who claimed the arrests highlighted “the FBI’s commitment to root out corruption in our government — at any level.”

Both Provenzano and Adorno are facing up to 10 years in prison, officials said. Suspected contractors involved in the scheme can face a maximum of 20 years.

All five suspects were released on $150,000 bail bonds during their arraignment.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the United States, and is very familiar with corruption charges. Last year, a senior executive at the city agency, Wendell Walters, pleaded guilty to accepting $2.5 million in bribes from developers. That February, the department was accused of giving a Queens construction company an unfair advantage in the bidding process for a plan to rehab Greenpoint hospital. The restoration project was ultimately halted, city officials say.

Madison HS teacher tryst ends in court

A James Madison High School teacher is facing four years in prison for having a steamy affair with a 16-year-old student, prosecutors said this week.

Erin Sayar, who made the cover of every city tabloid last week for her alleged scandalous sexcapades with a football player she tutored — in more ways than one — was dragged into Brooklyn criminal court on May 31 on statutory rape charges.

Sayar was pulled from the Bedford Avenue classroom after it was learned that she allegedly had sex with the student at least eight times since December, 2011. Most of the encounters took place in her car, but some occurred in Sayar’s office, prosecutors say, adding that Sayar and the teen sent more than 3,800 sexually-explicit texts to each other.

Her attorney, Virginia Lopreto, said word of Sayar’s alleged misdeeds surfaced only after the football player was busted for selling pot on school grounds. Sayar allegedly plied the teen with pot that she kept in an office filing cabinet, investigators say.

Sayar was released on $10,000 bail last Thursday. She is expected to return to court in the next few weeks.

— with Alfred Ng

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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