“Chief Building Inspector Anthony Mallia was arrested tonight on 100 felony charges alleging he gave builders cut-rate fees, depriving the town taxpayers of more than $100,000.
Mallia’s year-long scheme involved falsifying building permits and grossly undercharging contractors seeking permits, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe charged. The lost money is based upon the estimated cost of 33 new residential construction projects during 2015.
Zugibe said the elaborate scheme allegedly orchestrated by Mallia sidestepped public safety. Rockland District Attorney’s Office detectives combed through Ramapo Building Department records to make the case, he said.
The investigation didn’t find evidence that Mallia personally profited from the matter, according to Zugibe.
“This case goes to the very heart of corruption,” Zugibe said. “His breach of the people’s trust comes at a time when the residents …. are demanding honesty from their leaders. Such self-serving criminal behavior severely undermines public confidence in government and will not be tolerated.”
Mallia faces one count of second-degree grand larceny and 33 felony counts each of first-degree tampering with public records, first-degree falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing. He also is charged with misdemeanor official misconduct and theft of services.
Mallia was arrested at his home and arraigned in Ramapo Town Court on the charges about 9:30 p.m. He was escorted into court by investigators from the Ramapo District Attorney’s office with his hands handcuffed in front of him. Airmont Justice Karen Riley asked Mallia how much bail he could afford and he answered, “Very little.”
Riley set bail at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond. She said she was not comfortable releasing Mallia without bail based on the number of charges and the risk he could flee.
Mallia declined comment on the matter. He is due to return to Airmont Village Court on the charges Oct. 6. Senior Assistant District Attorney Richard Kennison Moran said authorities were continuing to investigate the case.
Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence did not return a call seeking comment. Deputy Supervisor Patrick Withers said he would be requesting an emergency meeting of the town board about the matter, which could take place as early as Friday.
Mallia’s arrest comes as Ramapo remains under scrutiny from the state for allegedly not enforcing fire and zoning codes, allowing schools to operate without planning board approvals and buildings to linger with violations. The state Division of Building Standards and Codes has threatened to take control of Ramapo inspections because of issues.”
Read the full coverage in The Journal News here.