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Building Inspector Arrested on Charge of Soliciting Bribe

Probe: Police sting operation targeted city official assigned to west San Fernando Valley. It was the second inquiry involving him.

May 23, 1997|BETH SHUSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles city building inspector responsible for residential properties in the west San Fernando Valley was arrested in a police sting operation on suspicion of soliciting a bribe, authorities said Thursday.

The inspector, Bradley Andrews, had been suspected previously of soliciting a bribe but authorities failed to prove the allegation in that instance, officials said.

Acting on a tip this time, Los Angeles Police Department bunco/forgery detectives conducted a sting operation in the West Valley on May 9 and caught Andrews in the process of soliciting a $1,000 bribe, police and other sources said.

Andrews, who worked out of a satellite office of the Department of Building and Safety in Reseda, was placed on administrative leave with pay after his arrest but returned to a desk job this week with limited duties, said Dave Keim, a department spokesman.

Andrews could not be reached for comment Thursday.

After the first bribery allegations, department officials took no disciplinary action against Andrews, who was allowed to return to his regular duties because no charges were filed against him, Keim said.

Although the department's officials said they take seriously any allegations of impropriety against their employees, other city officials questioned their handling of Andrews' case.

"If we ever have city employees in any department who commit any wrongdoing, I want it to be exposed and I want the proper actions to be taken--and that includes law enforcement and how the city deals with its employees," said City Councilwoman Laura Chick, who chairs the Public Safety Committee that oversees the Department of Building and Safety. "I want to take a look at this and ask questions about how the department dealt with this employee in the first case."

Chick said she had not been notified of the arrest until Thursday.

Richard Holguin, executive officer of the building and safety department who handles personnel issues, said: "Any time you have a large organization, you're going to have a few people not following procedures."

But Holguin said the department took this case seriously and cooperated with police, who informed the department's officials several days before the sting.

LAPD detectives who conducted the sting declined to comment, referring calls to the building and safety department.

Andrews has worked for the last several years in residential inspections, responsible for a section of Reseda and overseeing new single-family home construction and complaints about those types of residences.

The department has 350 to 400 residential inspectors spread throughout the city. Officials said Andrews' case was not the first of its kind in the department but said the number was not immediately available.

"Over the years, we've had a few," Holguin said.

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