Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Rendering courtesy of Mike Wolfert
Rendering courtesy of Mike Wolfert
The owner of The Cliffs, a Long Island City rock climbing facility that is slated to open this summer, has been charged with bribery.

In the midst of ongoing turmoil in city politics, one politician has helped bring a Long Island City business owner to justice for an alleged bribery attempt.

According to the Department of Investigation, Mike Wolfert, owner of a rock climbing facility called The Cliffs, received a Stop Work Order for failing to obtain the correct permit to convert a large warehouse into a 30,000-square-foot climbing arena. An unannounced inspection by the City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) reportedly prompted the order.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said on April 10, he received a “disturbing” and “inappropriate” message from Wolfert allegedly asking for help with the violations. The message allegedly offered to provide assistance promoting Van Bramer’s campaign in return for the favor.

After reading the email several times, Van Bramer believed the only appropriate response was to tell the City Council’s General Counsel, who then notified the Department of Investigation (DOI). The tip led to a four-week undercover investigation of Wolfert.

“I don’t believe there was an option here, I had an obligation to report it,” said Van Bramer. “I’m not a hero. Every elected official, if presented with something like this, should always respond like this.”

According to a criminal complaint issued by the district attorney, on two occasions Wolfert allegedly paid a total of $1,094 to a DOI undercover investigator posing as a DOB inspector offering help getting the Stop Work Order withdrawn.

Wolfert is charged with bribery in the third degree and unlawful continuance. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison for the bribery charge and fines up to $25,000 as well as up to a year in prison for the unlawful continuance.

“We’re grateful that at a time when some people are succumbing to corruption, this was reported to DOI,” said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn. “Cutting corners illegally and paying off city employees is not acceptable.”

Michael Lambert, Wolfert’s lawyer, declined to comment at this point in the investigation. Wolfert also declined to comment.

The Cliffs was expected to open this month, but is now looking to open its doors in July.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Comments:

Join The Discussion



Related Stories
Woodside homeowner arrested for trying to bribe city into ignoring illegal conversions
Woodside homeowner arrested for trying to bribe city into ignoring illegal conversions
UPDATE: New townhouse at Ridgewood site will be built next to century-old home
UPDATE: New townhouse at Ridgewood site will be built next to century-old home
Popular Stories
Photo via Shutterstock
UPDATE: Hit-and-run crash on the Grand Central Parkway ruled a homicide
Photo provided by Angelo Ng & Anthony Ng Architects Studio
Three new 19-story retail and residential towers slated to go up in downtown Flushing
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/ICE
ICE raids in East Elmhurst and across the city cause alarm and confusion


Skip to toolbar
Web Analytics