NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge sentenced a former safety code inspector for the city of New Orleans to two years in prison Wednesday for taking bribes for approving fraudulent construction permits.
Brian Medus became the city’s assistant chief mechanical inspector in 2011, reviewing and approving permits for HVAC and natural gas installation jobs and making sure contractors did the work correctly.
He resigned shortly before he was indicted in April 2021. He quickly pleaded guilty in August 2021, admitting he took bribes from the Code Enforcement Director of Kenner, James Mohamad, who also had an HVAC business but was not allowed to get permits in New Orleans because he also performed inspections on other contractors’ work for a third-party inspection firm, IECI & Associates.
Medus admitted that Mohamad paid him $300 per fraudulent permit so Medus would allow him to keep doing HVAC jobs in the city without the proper license. Medus also admitted to approving inspections of the work, and, on occasion, he even let Mohamad inspect and approve the safety of his own HVAC installation work in violation of state law.
Medus was prepared to testify against Mohamad, but Mohamad later pleaded guilty to paying more than $90,000 in bribes, including payments to Medus to falsify the city permits and inspections and $500 per permit to other HVAC contractors for the use of their licenses to get the permits.
Mohamad was sentenced in April to 46 months in prison and is scheduled to surrender in June.
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