2006-06-02 / Front Page

Sanitation Workers Caught Taking Bribe

By Brian Magoolaghan

A veteran Sanitation Department worker from Far Rockaway and his partner were busted last week for accepting a cash bribe and carting off lots of construction debris that they shouldn't have touched, according to city investigators.

Charles Fleming, 42, of Far Rockaway and Ronald Loosen, of New Hyde Park, were arrested on May 25 after the Department of Investigation videotaped them loading 40 large black trash bags from a house in Bellerose into their city-owned garbage truck, according to DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn. Investigators also allege that Fleming and Loosen accepted $100 from a contractor to remove old siding and debris from the site.

DOI began investigating Fleming and Loosen after Sanitation received a complaint, via 311, that the men were removing commercial refuse from a construction site. Sanitation officials forwarded the complaint to DOI, whose motto is, "Get the Worms Out of the Big Apple."

"City employees simply may not take money or anything of value, other than their city salaries, for doing their jobs, and they may not freelance on city time and use the city's equipment for their own financial gain," said Gill Hearn. "Now, two Sanitation Workers are charged with ignoring those well-known rules and face not only the loss of their city jobs and benefits but criminal prosecution and possibly jail."

Fleming and Loosen, who have a combined 35 years with the Sanitation Department, each received a base salary of more than $57,000 per year. They were assigned to the Queens 13 garage, located at 153-67 146 Avenue. They are charged with bribe receiving and official misconduct and face up to seven years in prison.

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