Building Inspector from Altadena Sentenced in Bribery Case

Raoul Germain, a City of Los Angeles building inspector from Altadena, will serve 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of accepting bribes.

A City of Los Angeles building inspector who pleaded guilty to charges of taking bribes was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Raoul Joseph Germain, 60, of Altadena, was caught on camera accepting $6,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent in a sting after the agency received a tip-off about Germain.  He pleaded guilty to the charges in April and the prosecutor in the case that Germain could receive as much as 10 years in prison.

Germain was arrested on April 9 along with Hugo Joel Gonzalez, 49, of Eagle Rock, who allegedly accepted $9,000 in bribes from an informant and an undercover agent.

Both Germain and Gonzalez worked on the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, which is responsible for inspection of construction projects in the city.

According to the criminal complaint, both inspectors were accused of taking bribes by a residential developer who had contact with both in the course of doing construction work in the city.  The informant, who is not named in the complaint, told the FBI that he had personally made 30 to 40 bribes to department inspectors.

Those bribes included paying for vacations for inspectors, buying materials at stores associated with the inspector, or doing construction work at the home of inspectors.

In exchange, the inspectors would forego actually physically inspecting any of the projects they were tasked with checking for compliance with city building codes.

Germain was approached by an undercover FBI agent who told him he was paying too much in bribes to another city inspector.  Germain then offered to sign off on inspection papers in return for $1,500, according to the complaint.

The Times notes that two other building inspectors have been removed from the department since the FBI sting, and that the agency has asked for personnel records of about a dozen more employees.

The story also says that Germain did not cooperate with an FBI probe into the Building and Safety Department, and Germain's lawyer told the Times that he declined to do so out of fear of retaliation against himself or his family.

Steve Lamb September 23, 2011 at 06:54 PM
He should be shot. Crooked building inspectors and other officials commit treason against all the people of the United States and strike a blow against all government. He got WAY too little time
Hunter MacEachern September 24, 2011 at 07:10 PM
The extreme nature of the words in the above comment demonstrate the reasonableness of the opinion. It's not as if this is national security. It is disappointing that you did not use this as an opportunity to comment on what you believe to be the essential flaws in the governmental building and inspection codes. I have heard you speak eloquently on that subject.
Steve Lamb September 24, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Hunter: I know this corrupt official is a friend of yours who helped you during the station fire. This doesnt change the nature of his crime, one that endangers the life safety of every person in California (if we apply the rhetoric of the agency he worked for) and one who broke his oath with all the Citizens of the United States. Corrupt officials, even more than other treasonous persons deserve the death penalty for their breaking of faith with the entirety of society for petty personal gain.
Ajay Singh (Editor) September 24, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Steve: Don't mean to fan any flames, and while I think I know where you're coming from, it must be pointed out that this country—every country—has its share of citizens who break their time-honored social contracts in myriad ways. And while I'm glad to notice that your latest post doesn't exactly call for a bullet in the Altadena inspector's head, as your previous post did, I just want to make sure whether or not you realize that sentencing every oath-breaker to death, whether as a deterrent or out of a primal sense of revenge, is going to place more people on death row than the populations of entire states.
Hunter MacEachern September 24, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Steve, I do not propose to get in a pissing match with you. But the death penalty for bribery? I didn't know you are a death penalty advocate. My friendship with Mr. Germain is unrelated to this matter other than I stand by my friends and am loyal to them even if they err or I disagree with them, I have done the same with you. As I noted above the extreme nature of your comments speak for themselves. I defer the last word to you,as I am done. My point is made.
Steve Lamb September 24, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Not every Oath breaker, just the ones who owe responsibility to society, lord over them rigid standards and then allow some to buy their way out. Those indeed deserve a bullet.
Joe Walker September 25, 2011 at 03:35 PM
We had the same hateful comments in Temple City when two of our recent mayors were convicted of bribery. People wanted these two ladies to go to prison for life for financial crimes involving small amounts of money. One of them got 16 months in prison and one got four years.
Lisa Hastings September 25, 2011 at 05:22 PM
@Joe. It's not the money. These are public servants in positions of trust whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers. Of course people are going to be angry when they use the power of their position to hurt the public and for their own personal gain. I am familiar with the Temple City corruption case. The mayor and other city council members took bribes from the developer of the local mall and then lied to the grand jury. Judy Wong with her haughty attitude had a handful of personal sob stories everytime they had to appear in court so her trial was delayed several times. Even when faced with the charges these public officials believed they were still above it all. No wonder people made hateful comments. Are you a friend of hers or the of the developer's? It sure sounds like it since your post makes it sound like these were minor crimes.
Steve Lamb September 25, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Lisa- thanks and right on. Building inspectors and zoning inspectors regularly deprive people of their Constitutional rights to due process. They have a system they have invented where thy can force any Architect, contractor, or home owner to do anything they wish on a whim. They can radically increase the cost of jobs for no reason but they feel like it. they have absolute authority without any corresponding responsibility. ts a system that is made for corruption. One of them got caught and is going to be sento a "prison" with tennis courts. When one violates THEIR rules and gets to court and doesn't comply, one goes to real priion with Bubba the boy abuser. I can hardly be asked to have sympathy, nor do I think it is deserved. Let's not frget this poor little petty criminal who "only" stole $6000 from some contractor already made 50% over the County wide average salary, had a benefit package no ontractor or private sector person could dream of and as I said unlimited unchecked authority. What is deserved is that they get the kind of callous treatment they give the public. Frankly, a bullet is too fast and too kind for them. The only conciliation I have is that perhaps he lost that which government employees livefor: His overly generous pension.
Lisa Hastings September 25, 2011 at 08:04 PM
No bullets.
Joe Walker September 26, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Lisa..Interesting style of debate. Attack a person by alleging they are sympathetic to criminals. I am not friends with either of the convicted Temple City officials and attended both their trials. What they did was stupid and very destructive to the community, but they do not deserve to be locked up for dozens of years like some of the posters suggest.
Lisa Hastings September 26, 2011 at 07:40 PM
No debate style here. I only call it as I see it. And now who is attacking whom? I just read your sympathetic post: "People wanted these two ladies to go to prison for life for financial crimes involving small amounts of money." (1) "ladies" - Huh? What kind of lady would be involved in public graft? (2) "small amounts of money" Your post did not include the bigger crime of betraying the public trust.
Gary Edwards September 27, 2011 at 03:08 AM
at it again
Steve Lamb September 27, 2011 at 07:20 PM
Lisa- I think the culture of the Kleptocrats has become so ingrained that the people we are speaking to just can't understand the concept of a crime that steals the public trust and steals from all.


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