East Orange Construction Official Admits Extortion
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 24, 2012|
NEWARK—A longtime construction official in the property maintenance department of the city of East Orange, New Jersey admitted today that he extorted money from a property owner in exchange for the official’s assistance in city government matters, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Kim Davis, 46, of New York and formerly of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls to count two of an indictment charging him with extortion under color of official right for accepting a $5,000 corrupt payment in exchange for official action.
According to documents filed in this case and statements in court:
Davis was a certified technical assistant to construction officials in the building division of the property maintenance department of East Orange. The building division is responsible for the enforcement of the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and the approval of all applications for construction, alterations, and renovations of buildings within the city.
Davis and an inspector in the code and enforcement division of the property maintenance department—referred to in the indictment as Co-conspirator One and identified in court proceedings as Billie Muhammad—conspired in 2007 to advise an East Orange property owner—referred to in the indictment as Individual One—that Davis would provide Individual One, in exchange for a $5,000 cash payment, the requisite permits and certificates from the building department to build a new residence.
On September 7, 2007, Davis met with Individual One and accepted a $5,000 cash payment in exchange for Davis’ official assistance in expediting the process of obtaining the requisite permits and certificates.
The count to which Davis pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the aggregate loss to victims or gain to the defendant. Sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2013.
On January 21, 2010, Billie Muhammad pleaded guilty to an information charging him with attempted extortion under color of official right.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vikas Khanna and Barbara Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.