City Inspector Gets 41 Months In Prison For Taking Bribe

CHICAGO (STMW) — A city plumbing inspector was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison on Friday for taking a $7,000 bribe from a developer to approve work that was not in compliance with city building codes.

Mario Olivella, 43, was a supervisory plumping inspector for the city’s Dept. of Buildings since 1993, a release from the Office of the Inspector General’s office said.

A federal jury found him guilty in January of two counts of bribery and conspiracy for taking bribes to overlook code violations at a building being converted to condos at 1637 W. Granville, the release said. He was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison in addition to two years of supervised release to run at the end of his prison term.

He must also pay a $2,000 fine and a $200 special assessment court cost.

A joint investigation by the inspector general’s office, the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service found Olivella took bribes on at least two occasions.

At trial, Olivella was convicted of taking a $7,000 bribe from a developer to approve plumbing work that was not in compliance with the city building code at the Granville property, the release said.

At sentencing no Friday, Judge Joan Lefkow found that Olivella had accepted a total of more than $50,000 in bribes to overlook plumbing code violations at Granville and other residential properties in the city, the release said.

The sentencing is part of an ongoing federal corruption investigation, code-named “Operation Crooked Code.” To date, there have been 21 people convicted under the operation, fifteen of whom are current of former city employees, the release said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • pat

    What is a plumping inspector?

  • Meli

    Its ok for lobbyists to “bribe” politicians but inspectors can take a few kickbacks? so when is it allowable and when isnt it…Im confused?? Someone shouldve bribed the judge..

  • jeff

    The best politicians money can buy……… serve and collect


    the big question is Do they still retain their pensions and benefits from the union, knowing the city with all the free loading aldermen they will vote to give them their pensions because it was just a minor infraction. We taxpayers are very dumb to re-elect all the aldermen.

  • john

    Maybe this guy can run for Alderman when he gets out of prison.

  • Barbara

    Why isn’t the developer also charged? He knew bribing the inspector was, at least, abetting the plumbing contractor to commit a crime. Seems like the same crime both ways to me. Or is this just another case of those with money having a free pass?

  • Ehab

    I knew this inspector, Mario, personally. He’s been taking bribes for years and years… from many of my contractor friends. $50,000 is about 1/10th of what he took in. He is lucky he got off that easy.
    Just about everyone working for the City is a croock… That’s why our whole family moved. Enough is enough

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