NYCHA Staffer Retires Amidst Indictment in Pay-to-Play Corruption Scheme

A New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) staffer, Alex Tolozano, retired just two weeks before being indicted in a widespread “pay-to-play” corruption scheme. Tolozano, 57, was one of 70 current and former NYCHA employees charged in the alleged $2 million, 10-year racket, marking the largest number of federal bribery charges brought in a single day in the history of the Justice Department.

Between 2015 and 2019, Tolozano worked as a superintendent at Webster Houses in The Bronx. Manhattan federal prosecutors allege that during this time, he accepted approximately $41,000 in kickbacks in exchange for $205,000 worth of no-bid contracts. It remains unclear whether NYCHA officials were aware of Tolozano’s federal probe when he retired in January after 35 years of service.

Tolozano, who had been employed at NYCHA since 1988, held the position of “Neighborhood Administrator” at the Monroe Houses in The Bronx in 2021, earning an annual salary of $129,000, according to city records. His last recorded position in the city payroll records was as a “Building Superintendent” in 2023, with a lower salary of approximately $95,000. Based on a review of city payroll records, it is estimated that his pension may amount to $68,000 per year.

This recent indictment is not the first time Tolozano has faced disciplinary action. In April 2022, he was suspended for 30 days after being caught naked in bed with a woman during a work-related video call. The incident, captured in a cringe-worthy 17-second clip shared on YouTube, drew shocked reactions from his colleagues. Tolozano had also faced temporary suspensions in 1995 and 2015, as well as a formal reprimand in 2014, according to NYCHA sources.

The involvement of other NYCHA employees in the corruption scheme has also come to light. Juan Mercado, a residential building superintendent with NYCHA since 2013, is accused of accepting a staggering $314,300 in bribes from contracts totaling at least $1,761,000 between 2014 and 2023. Dwarka Rupnarain, a retired superintendent for three different Bronx housing projects, allegedly accepted at least $83,100 in bribes from contracts worth $508,000 between 2007 and 2022.

As the federal indictment loomed, Tolozano retired, leaving unanswered questions about NYCHA’s awareness of his situation. The public housing authority and the city Department of Finance have not responded to inquiries regarding his annual pension.

Efforts to reach Tolozano for comment have been unsuccessful, and his Maywood, New Jersey home remained unresponsive. Mercado, one of the co-defendants in the case, initially greeted reporters with a smile at his West Babylon home, but later shouted for them to leave his property. His modest house stood in contrast to the display of luxury vehicles in his driveway, including a 2022 Honda Accord, a recent model Mercedes, and an older Mustang convertible.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton

    This quote resonates with the post because it highlights the corrupting influence of power. In this case, the NYCHA staffer retired just two weeks before being indicted in a corruption scheme, suggesting that the allure of power and the opportunity for personal gain can lead individuals to engage in unethical behavior. Lord Acton’s quote serves as a reminder that those in positions of authority must be held accountable and that power should be

Leave a Reply

Share on:

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter