Crime & Justice

Judge sentences corrupt LA building inspector to 21 months in prison

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A federal judge has sentenced a building inspector who took bribes to 21 months in prison. Corruption may run much deeper in L.A.'s Department of Building and Safety.

Federal prosecutors say former L.A. City Building Inspector Raoul Joseph Germain accepted cash in exchange for signing off on construction jobs he never inspected. Germain allegedly told an undercover agent who posed as a contractor that he’d drive by projects but “won’t even stop.”

Germain’s lawyer said his client experienced “a short-term lapse in judgment.” But he wasn’t the only one at the L.A. Department of Building and Safety to do so.

Another inspector has pleaded guilty to the same charges and the city’s fired 10 more employees over performance issues and ethical violations. FBI and federal grand jury investigations also continue.

Meanwhile, the city is bringing back an Internal Investigations Office to oversee its more than 700 building inspectors and managers. The city’s also reportedly considering whether to issue inspectors telephones equipped with GPS tracking devices — the better to monitor their activities.