Former City of Chicago Building Inspector Pleads Guilty to Soliciting Bribe from Property Owner to Allow Renovations Without a Permit

CHICAGO — A former building inspector for the City of Chicago admitted in federal court today that he solicited a $300 bribe from a property owner in exchange for allowing renovation work without a permit.

ROBERTO URIBE, 55, of Frankfort, demanded the bribe from an owner of a two-story building in Chicago, according to a written plea agreement.  Unbeknownst to Uribe, the building owner was cooperating with federal authorities and had surreptitiously recorded the bribery demand.

In a recorded conversation on Nov. 9, 2015, Uribe boasted of his ability to shut down the renovation work unless the owner paid him $300.  “So now, what’s happening now is you’re gonna give me some appreciation, and you’re gonna hurry up and get this done,” Uribe told the building owner, according to the plea agreement.  “And that appreciation is gonna be $300.  Now how quickly can you get me my money to keep my mouth shut?”

A few days later, the property owner paid $300 in cash to Uribe during a meeting at the property, the plea agreement states.  The property owner was equipped with a recording device that recorded this meeting.

Uribe pleaded guilty to one count of attempted extortion under color of official right.  The conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.  U.S. District Judge Jorge L. Alonso set sentencing for Feb. 2, 2017, at 11:00 a.m.

The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Joseph M. Ferguson, Inspector General for the City of Chicago.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker.