The New York City building commissioner is being investigated for conduct dating back to when he was a city councilman — not his current role, sources told the Post on Wednesday.
Commissioner Eric Ulrich, 37, was questioned by investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for more than two hours on Tuesday as part of the criminal gambling investigation, the sources confirmed. It came as a search warrant was served at his home in Queens and his mobile phone was seized.
Ulrich — a Republican who represented the borough’s 32nd district from 2009 until last year — has not been charged with a crime.
Sources said the year-long investigation, initially focused on organized crime, did not involve Ulrich’s current role as head of the Department of Buildings, a position to which he was appointed in May by Mayor Eric Adams. .
Ulrich, who previously served as the mayor’s senior adviser, may have racked up debt while playing backstage card games at Ozone Park with mob associates, the sources say.
While on city council, he once wrote a letter to a federal judge asking for clemency for a reputed Mafia affiliate, though it’s unclear whether that appeal is related to the investigation.
The 2018 letter, printed on official City Council letterhead, referred to Bonanno family associate Robert Pisani as “a personal friend.”
“Mr. Pisani is a kind person, a devoted family man and a selfless individual,” wrote Ulrich on behalf of Pisani, who had pleaded guilty to a RICO charge of conspiring to collect an illegal debt.
He claimed Pisani sent bagels and food to nurses at Jamaica Hospital, where Ulrich’s 3-year-old daughter was being treated after she was “seriously injured in a trolley accident.”
“I found out about his act of kindness after the fact,” Ulrich wrote to judge Dora Irizarry. “When I insisted on paying for the food, he told me to donate the money to charity. He’s a really good guy.”
The mayor told reporters at City Hall on Wednesday that he had no immediate plans to remove Ulrich from his $243,171-a-year job.
“Eric is still the commissioner there,” Adams said. “Number 2, it’s really so early for us to say we should, we should, we should… The DA’s office is going to do their review, that review will determine how we move forward.”
Adams said he hasn’t spoken with Ulrich since news of the investigation surfaced on Tuesday, but chief attorney Brendan McGuire has. McGuire told reporters that Ulrich had passed a background check required of senior administration officials before his appointment to the DOB.
Ulrich and the prosecutor’s office have not commented on the investigation.
Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republican Club, lambasted the building commissioner in a statement calling the former councilman “never Trump Republican.”
“Mayor Adams has been repeatedly warned not to include Ulrich in his administration,” Wax said. “We now see why this advice was justified. Along with all other New Yorkers who value sound and honest government, I hope for Ulrich’s immediate removal from public office as this investigation continues. City government should not be tainted with mafia debt and mafia apologists.
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan and Carl Campanile