Parks dep’t manager sentenced for bribery

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman yesterday announced the conviction and sentencing of Joseph Sdao, a former project manager for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, for pocketing $30,000 in bribes to rig Bronx playground contracts.

Sdao, 69, of Westbury, was sentenced to 12 weekends in jail and five years probation, and ordered to pay forfeiture of $30,000. The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted jointly with the New York City Department of Investigation.

Last month, Sdao admitted that he received bribes from a construction vendor. Sdao told the court that, in his official capacity as a project manager for the Parks Department, he agreed to provide a particular vendor with a copy of an engineer's estimate prior to the competitively bid submission date.

The engineer's estimate is an internal Parks Department document that is not intended for public consumption until after the bid submission date.

In exchange, Sdao took a percentage of the contract price if the vendor won the contracts. Sdao also admitted that he allowed the employees of the vendor to submit invoices to the Parks Department at artificially inflated prices for materials in exchange for bribe payments that represented a percentage of the difference between the engineer's estimated price and an inflated price.

The scheme resulted in Sdao accepting bribes of more than $30,000.

Sdao was arrested and charged in April with five felony counts, including two counts of Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree, one count of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, and two counts of Combination in Restraint of Trade and Competition, a violation of the Donnelly Act.

"Corrupt public servants who violate their official duties undermine the public's confidence in the governmental process and will be vigorously prosecuted by this office. Betraying the public’s trust and stealing money from the taxpayers will not be tolerated," said Schneiderman.