LI man guilty of taking bribes at housing agency

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A Long Island man who once served as an official at the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development pleaded guilty yesterday to taking bribes from developers.

"I knew my actions were wrong and I deeply regret them," said a teary Michael Provenzano, former director of construction services at HPD, whose voice cracked as he admitted to Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon that he leaked inspection reports for cash.

Provenzano, 49, of Massapequa, faces up to 30 years in prison and is likely to receive 24 to 30 months under federal sentencing guidelines. He also agreed to forfeit $30,000 under his plea deal, and has resigned from HPD.

From 2004 to 2009, prosecutors alleged, Provenzano received $10,000 annual payoffs and liquor from a developer in return for supplying information on upcoming bids and inspection reports that allowed the developer to skirt prevailing wage laws.

Provenzano allegedly initiated the scheme in a meeting at a cafe near his then-home in Valley Stream. The developer, who has not been identified, later began cooperating with the government.

In a related case, former HPD inspections supervisor Luis Adorno, 48, of Scarsdale, pleaded guilty to bribe-taking after Provenzano's plea yesterday. Former HPD Assistant Commissioner Wendell Walters pleaded guilty to a kickback conspiracy in March, and HPD-related corruption charges are pending against several others.

"When public employees favor bribe-payers, inevitably the city and the public stand to lose," said Mary Galligan, acting director of the FBI's New York office.

"The city gets substandard goods or services, or pays above-market rates for them, or the public is otherwise at risk."

Provenzano's sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 4.

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