Owner of Queens carting company pleads guilty to bribery scheme
Kalergios agreed to give cash to facilities director in return for contract
George Kalergios, the owner of several companies that operated in the New York metro area, including Zeus Waste Management Inc., a carting company based in Whitestone, Queens, pleaded guilty via videoconference before U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen in Brooklyn Federal Court to bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with a scheme to secure waste management contracts from a local college.
In June 2018, Kalergios, 57, agreed to bribe the facilities director of an unnamed college located in New York City to grant Zeus Waste Management the exclusive right to remove non-hazardous waste from the college’s campus, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District.
Specifically, Kalergios agreed to pay the facilities director 10 percent of any payments that the college made to Zeus Waste Management under any contracts directed to the company.
In July 2018, the facilities director awarded a three-year contract to Zeus Waste Management that gave it the exclusive right to remove non-hazardous waste from the College’s campus. Between July 2018 and March 2019, under the terms of their illegal agreement, Kalergios made multiple cash payments to the facilities director totaling approximately $11,095.
When sentenced, Kalergios faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In addition, Kalergios agreed forfeit the amount of $110,955.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, announced the guilty plea.
“The defendant’s bribery scheme deprived a local college of the honest services of its contractors and employees,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that those who engage in criminal corruption to enrich themselves at the expense of institutions in our communities will be held accountable.”
“Instead of providing the best possible services to his clients with no strings attached, Kalergios participated in a quid-pro-quo arrangement that served to advance his selfish interests. Corrupt behavior has no place in the business of honest services, and today’s guilty plea highlights that basic truth,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts and the FBI’s Boston field office assisted in the case.
According to a website, Newzandar News, public records show that Kalergios donated a total of $31,050 to elected officials since 2005. He contributed nine checks totaling $9,750 to then-Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who is now the Queens district attorney. In 2017, Kalergios made two contributions to Mayor Bill de Blasio totaling $9,650, the website said.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Polemeni and Special Assistant United States Attorney Virginia Nguyen are in charge of the prosecution.
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