FBI investigates New York Fire Department chiefs in corruption probe

February 16, 2024
FDNY Bronx New York Fire fighters

Investigation into fire chiefs’ alleged improper payments

In a significant development reported by the New York Times, the FBI conducted searches at the homes of two high-ranking chiefs within the New York Fire Department as part of a corruption investigation.

The searches, which also extended to the chiefs’ offices at the department’s headquarters in Brooklyn, aim to uncover whether these officials accepted payments improperly in connection with building inspections.

This inquiry, launched in late summer, involves the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, and the New York City Department of Investigation.

Details of the corruption investigation

The investigation centers on whether the chiefs, Brian E. Cordasco and Anthony M. Saccavino, received nearly $100,000 each to expedite or influence fire inspections on building projects.

Both chiefs have been placed on modified duty by Fire Department Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, emphasizing the department’s commitment to integrity and public safety.

“The FDNY’s first priority is always keeping New Yorkers safe, and we expect every member of the department to act appropriately,” the Fire Department stated, highlighting the immediate referral of the allegations to the Department of Investigation upon discovery last year.

The broader context of the New York Fire Department probe

The searches and the ongoing investigation into the fire chiefs unfold against the backdrop of a wider federal corruption probe involving Mayor Eric Adams’s 2021 campaign fundraising.

However, officials have not indicated a direct connection between these investigations.

The corruption inquiry has notably delved into allegations related to the Turkish government’s involvement in illegal campaign donations and the approval of a new high-rise consulate despite safety concerns.

Commissioner Kavanagh’s recent promotion of Cordasco and Saccavino to oversee the Bureau of Fire Prevention, amidst a lawsuit alleging corruption and mismanagement within the department, adds another layer of complexity to the case.

The lawsuit, pending in New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, accuses Kavanagh of retaliating against former chiefs for not complying with corrupt practices favoring major real estate developers.

FSJA Comment

The unfolding investigation into alleged corruption within the New York Fire Department underscores the critical balance between public safety and ethical governance.

The steps taken by the Fire Department and city authorities in response to these allegations reflect a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Read Next

Subscribe Now