FDNY HQ, fire chiefs’ homes raided by FBI and NYC investigators in probe over $100K bribes to speed up inspections (2024)

The FDNY’s Brooklyn headquarters and the homes of two top fire chiefs were raided by the FBI and city investigators Thursday as part of a corruption probe, sources confirmed to The Post.

The feds searched the homes of Brian Cordasco and Anthony Saccavino — two senior chiefs in the fire prevention office — following allegations they each were paid $100,000 to expedite or set up safety inspections, according to the sources.

Investigators were looking into whether the chiefs received the payments from a recently-retired firefighter, identified as Henry J. Santiago Jr., the sources added.

The chiefs, who have not been charged with any wrongdoing, had their phones seized when federal agents came knocking to ask about alleged payments from Santiago, per the sources.


The city’s Department of Investigation also closed off the fourth floor of FDNY HQ – home to the fire prevention office – on Thursday and removed records and computers, sources said.

The probe began last summer after Santiago told another fire chief that he’d allegedly made the payments to Cordasco and Saccavino, the New York Times reported, citing a source.

Santiago subsequently reported the payments to DOI after the fire chief informed him he had a duty to disclose it.


Reached by phone on Thursday, Santiago told The Post: “I don’t know what this is about and I don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh was alerted to the allegations involving the two chiefs last fall and immediately alerted DOI, an FDNY spokesperson said in a statement.

“Commissioner Kavanagh has proactively placed the employees at the center of this investigation on modified duty, and we are awaiting guidance from DOI regarding further action,” the spokesperson said.


“The FDNY’s first priority is always keeping New Yorkers safe, and we expect every member of the department to act appropriately.”

DOI, which handled the search of the offices, confirmed it had received a complaint from the FDNY but declined to comment further.

Cordasco and Saccavino have worked in the FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Prevention since fall of 2020, according to the department.

Fire sources said the pair were promoted by Kavanagh last February after she demoted three other chiefs — leading to a mutiny among the topranks.


One of those demoted chiefs, Joseph Jardin, subsequently slapped the commish with a lawsuit alleging he had been unfairly retaliated against after he came forward with allegations that Mayor Eric Adams’ administration was helping big real estate developers cut to the front of the line of builders awaiting fire inspections.

Jardin, who led the Bureau of Fire Prevention from 2019 through 2022, alleged in his suit that City Hall introduced a Deputy Mayor of Operations (DMO) list to help speed up fire alarm inspections for local businesses to help clear a massive back log from the COVID pandemic.

But the DMO list was instead used to help out powerful and politically connected developers, Jardin alleged in his suit.

It took upwards of 30 weeks to get a fire safety inspection at the end of 2021, though First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright said during a City Hall briefing last November that average wait times were down to roughly four weeks.


It’s not known what exactly the alleged payments made to Cordasco and Saccavino were for or if they were in any way connected to the DMO list.

Cordasco and Saccavino did not return calls Thursday.

When The Post knocked on Cordasco’s door in Staten Island, someone inside the home closed the curtains and refused to answer.

A neighbor, who said he saw FBI agents at the home, said they were “all in shock” – adding the chief was a “father, a family man, somebody who helps everybody on the block out.”

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The raids, first reported by the Times, did not appear to be connected to the federal corruption investigation into Adams’ 2021 campaign.

As part of that probe, federal investigators were, at one point, looking at whether Hizzoner helped fast-track the opening of the Turkish government’s new diplomatic headquarters in Manhattan, sources said.

In a September 2021 text exchange,Turkish Consul GeneralReyhan Özgürhad reached out to Adams —who was then the Brooklyn borough president– about the new HQ building needing a “temporary certificate of occupancy” from the Fire Department.

Özgürhad asked Adams if he knew then-FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and if he could help.Adams, according to sources, then reached out to Nigro and asked him to look into the matter, but didn’t order him to do anything.

”City Hall became aware of this operation when we were notified by FDNY this morning,” an Adams spokesperson said Thursday. “The FDNY continues to cooperate with DOI, and there is no indication of any direct connection to anyone at City Hall.”

The FBI and the Manhattan US Attorney’s office both refused to comment.

Additional reporting by Kevin Sheehan

FDNY HQ, fire chiefs’ homes raided by FBI and NYC investigators in probe over $100K bribes to speed up inspections (2024)
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