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San Antonio Building Inspectors Under Investigation for Bribes
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

City code inspectors accused of taking bribes
When the retaining wall in the Rivermist subdivision collapsed last month, city inspectors admitted they didn't know the wall was even there.  Now, the news four WOAI trouble shooters uncovered new concerns that city inspectors aren’t doing enough to keep you safe inside your home.  When your house is under construction, city inspectors are supposed to inspect things like the plumbing and electrical wiring to make sure it's done right.  But we've uncovered some inspectors are the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly taking bribes from contractors in exchange for approving work they never checked.

City code inspectors accused of taking bribes
Reported by: Brian Collister
View Video Report: City inspectors under investigation for taking bribes

Post your comments and read others...

When the retaining wall in the Rivermist subdivision collapsed last month, city inspectors admitted they didn't know the wall was even there.

Now, the news four WOAI trouble shooters uncovered new concerns that city inspectors aren’t doing enough to keep you safe inside your home.

When your house is under construction, city inspectors are supposed to inspect things like the plumbing and electrical wiring to make sure it's done right.

But we've uncovered some inspectors are the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly taking bribes from contractors in exchange for approving work they never checked.


Brigitte Garza worries her remodeled home may not be safe.

We’re remodeling this house for our family and it was supposed to be safe. And it was supposed to be in good working condition, said Garza.”

The work was passed by city code inspectors.

So Brigitte was stunned when home builder Duane Hilburn came by and looked at the work.

“I wanted to know if it was inspected, because it was obvious it was not up to code, said Hilburn.”

That's when Brigitte filed a complaint with the city claiming the work was not up to code and accusing the inspectors of being in bed with the contractor.

“They never came out and inspected our plumbing. They didn't inspect our electrical. They didn't inspect our foundation. They didn't inspect anything from this house because our contractor was in cahoots with the inspectors from the city of San Antonio, said Garza.”

A spokesman for the city says its inspectors did do their job in this case and defends the inspector's work.

But while digging into this case the Trouble Shooters discovered several other inspectors at the city's planning and development department are the target of an on-going criminal investigation by the San Antonio Police Department.

“There's a criminal investigation into some of your employees that have accepted bribes for passing work they didn't look at. What do you want to say about that, asked News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooter Brian Collister?”

“I want to say this. The city will not tolerate any unethical conduct on the part of our employees and we will take immediate action, said
Rod Sanchez with the San Antonio City Planning and Development Department.”

Sanchez says he cannot give additional details about his inspectors because the case is still open.

“We did get a complaint which we immediately looked into. I can tell you there are four people under criminal investigation right now within our organization. Two of those people have resigned in lieu of termination, but the criminal investigation continues, said Sanchez.” 

We asked if some code inspectors were not doing their job, are the people living in the homes they were supposed to be inspecting safe?

“We've gone back and looked at several of these sites and we've addressed those issues, said Sanchez.”

Because this is an on-going criminal investigation the city is not naming the inspectors or releasing the addresses of the homes they're accused of not inspecting.

We'll stay on this story and get that information as soon as it's available.


Post your comments and read others... 

roadking - 9:34 AM
All our elected officals in DC are getting it in the back door for money. Perry is an elected prostitute for any company that will give him money. Why shouldn't a few of our local people get in on the gravy to.
stingrayl88 - 9:21 AM
Crooked city code inspectors, and contractors, and city politicians! Oh, my!

Savage - 9:19 AM
snoopytuner, are you so naive to believe that there are no "officials" that are corrupt? I have personally seen it. Freejole, I mean freehole,you are a complete idiot if you think moridas or bribes originated in Mexico. This has been going on for centuries, this is not a new thing. As a previous comment stated, Judas did it. Was he in Mexico, moron????

FreeHole - 9:16 AM
twotexastar...And "our savior" never saved us...uh? I refer to Mexico because we (I didn't just learn the word for bribe...I'm an expert en el lenguaje Castellano) mexicans elevated to a superior, exquisite level, the art of "mordida", making it an institucionalized practice, which in turn allows the Mexican government to pay low salaries to its police officers, for example, and let them take bribes to make it up. The institucion of bribe allows also the population to pay very low taxes. It's cultural crap the SPANIARDS brought to the new world from their corrupt country. The Irish and British weren't too far behind, though. Ask the Apache.

yoyo2 - 9:15 AM
what else is new?

snoopyturner - 8:59 AM
jefsr I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tired of hearing your boring story. You can't tell me that the FBI and all the DA's office are corrupt. If Brian Collister thought you had a story, he would investigate it. Sounds to me like you need to spend your money on some counseling so you can get over yourself. Go get a job and keep yourself busy.

judley1269 - 8:40 AM
This has been going on so long that it gets joked about, sort of like the priestly perverts. They're just doing their yob.

jefsr - 8:34 AM
Machacado;...We learned the hard way that the FBI won't do anything until Reed calls them in. They threw letters in the trash for 2 1/2 years standing on "protocol" while Reed stalled any investigation into her buddies down at city hall. McAnus and Ortiz “ripped up” police reports filed last June while Reed ignored letters since then where proof of the violations of law was directly forwarded to her office. FBI agent Brown wrote a CYA letter citing three separate meetings with FBI agents over the 2 1/2 years and now we filed an official complaint with the DOJ OIG citing falsification of a government document as there were NO three meetings or any investigation. We are pushing investigations into the fraud, theft, aggravated perjury, obstruction, “color of the law” violations, constitutional violations, etc. but it takes time and money to get past the “code of silence” law enforcement uses to cover for each other…..Collister has copies of all the documents………Ask him…………..

twotexastar - 8:29 AM
Freehole, you're wrong on so many levels. Just because you have learned the spanish word for bribe, does not mean that the Hispanic people have invented this under handed means of transactions. Bribes have been going on for centuries. Judas took 30 pieces of silver for turning in our savior.

lenny66 - 8:22 AM
More graduates of the Henry Cisneros School of Ethics. No need to be suprised at this stuff folks. It has gone on and will continue to go on as long as the same SOB's remain in charge.

jefsr - 8:20 AM
FreeHole;.... You are 100% correct. The EN covers up for the City BUT Collister also refuses to investigate decades of fraud, falsification of government documents/audits, aggravated perjury, obstruction, etc. Collister has : copies of two police reports that McAnus and Ortiz “ripped up” so no investigation into the numerous violations of law occurred. McAnus’s and city management’s version of “don’t ask-don’t tell”. ……, a copy of a criminal trespass warning barring entry into city hall/council to stop the flow of information to our citizens, copies of documents handed over to Councilperson Clamp where city attorney Bernard instructed Clamp to look away and ignore the violations of law, copies of CIO Richard Varn’s trial transcript, his 2007 deposition and numerous city/state/federal documents that prove that Varn lied under oath in court to cover up decades of misappropriation of our money totaling in the tens of millions of dollars….. , copies of Municipal Integrity intake reports proving the fraud and of former MI manger Virginia Quinn’s courtroom testimony proving that the MI investigation was a fraud and covered up violations of law….. , copies of numerous affidavits and depositions with documents that directly contradict the lies told under oath….., a copy of a recording where Senator Jeff Wentworth called State Auditor Keel using the words “crooked politicians”, “cover-up” and “Bull-****”, a copy of a letter drafted by Congressman Lamar Smith asking HUD OIG to assist us in our efforts to get the ongoing criminal investigation of grant fraud expanded to include IT Director Miller, CIO Varn and other IT employees who have spent the past 4 years covering up decades of fraud/theft…. We are working at the Federal level in an effort to bypass the corruption and “color of the law” abuses where our city government uses McAnus and Reed to help cover up their criminal activity…If citizens only knew of all the fraud and cover-up this fiasco would be over FAST.

machacado - 8:00 AM
and what does the FBI have to say about it? or are we just going to let the city investigate itself?

chrisort - 7:25 AM
Like this is a suprise. They all do it. from Centex and the other dirt-bags....

GoneToTheDogs - 4:54 AM
Well, what's new about this? Back in the 80s, this was common knowledge. Some of us came very close to being put out of business by these clowns. Even after going to the board (I won't say WHICH board), we were STILL harassed while those who paid got by with violating the "city codes" that we helped write. One of the worst ones even had the audacity to go after Hunter Ceiling Fans, apparently thinking the lighting distributor would pay him off.

blackflag - 1:18 AM
Not just the City code inspectors that get paid off. Ground Transportation Unit that gives,and regulates taxicabs drivers take monitaries,and gifts from the cab drivers. Code Compliance officers take bribes,and one officer "double-dips" using the city issued cell phone for the Security Co. he manages for,and stops at the security company office in the City vehicle,doing the hours,hiring & firing on city's time,he's been doing it for years,and say's "nothing will ever happen to me,not evan trouble shooters can't stop me" Health Department inspector takes bribes to....

cmack31 - 2/23/2010 11:45 PM
My husband use to frame houses for several builders.. He knew way back when (7-10 yrs ago)that inspectors were paid off. While framing a whole row of houses he never saw once inspector yet they continued to go on with all stages of the home. He sub-ed for Pulte homes and the only place they were inspected (hard core inspected) was the city of Schertz. City of San Antonio pick on Charter schools and other small businesses like that. They will fail them just so you pay to have them come back. Very, very crooked. Large building projects like a Walmart or lowes get only a glance at.. My husband now builds decks and remodeling. He has city codes down like the back of his hand, but occasionally he comes across an inspector that likes to make things up so he can come out again and get paid again. He has called them on the spot of their lies and they admit it right there that they didn't know the code to the letter. People are trained to think that this is for your safety but it is for the city to keep tabs on property taxes. (raise or lower) P.S in my opinion the worst of the worst home builders and inspections is Ray Ellison/KB Homes and Pulte. Remember Henry Cisineros had his hands in the cookie jar with Ray Ellison/ KB HOMES..

FreeHole - 2/23/2010 11:12 PM
Being San Antonio a city with a population of 65 to 75 percent Mexicans, we must expect that a considerable number of officials, in every field, are used to receive "mordida" to lube the wheels of progress. Not because they are evil, but because of the cultural background. Well, in Mexico it's been working for a few centuries. So...if the reporters are not finding the corruption in SA, it's because they are not looking hard enough. Check the school districts. They expend millions and millions every year, and they are always asking for more, because "it's not enough". Yeah, right.

WillisJordan - 2/23/2010 10:36 PM
From the tone of your story, I get the idea that you may think there are some inspectors who don't take bribes. You may well be correct, though I wouldn't bet on it.

wanna be texan - 2/23/2010 10:18 PM
From the looks of 70% of San Antonio compared to Denver I didn't know there were any building inspectors at all!!!
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