By FOX 8 Staff | WVUE | August 11, 2021
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A former City of New Orleans safety inspector pleaded guilty Wednesday (Aug. 11) in federal court to a scheme in which he accepted bribes in exchange for issuing fraudulent work permits for heating and air conditioning jobs.
Brian Medus of Covington pleaded guilty as charged to a U.S. Code violation for conspiracy to use an interstate facility with the intent to carry on unlawful activity. Medus, 44, faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when sentenced on Nov. 17.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Medus worked as the assistant chief mechanical inspector for the City of New Orleans’ Safety and Permits Department. In that capacity, prosecutors said, Medus solicited and accepted bribe money from James Mohamad, the Director of the Department of Inspection and Code Enforcement for the City of Kenner, to issue fraudulent permits authorizing HVAC jobs for Mohamad. Medus furthered the conspiracy using cellular phones and a City of New Orleans computer system that tracks code enforcement and permits.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Mohamad paid Medus “and others” approximately $93,000 to secure the permits. The scheme was investigated by the FBI and the City of New Orleans’ Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
“The FBI is committed to aggressively pursuing those who violate the trust placed in them by the public and holding them accountable for their actions,” said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams Jr. “Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that individuals like Mr. Medus who engaged in a bribery scheme will be held responsible.”
Medus is the second former City of New Orleans inspector to plead guilty in the case. Former building inspector Kevin Richardson entered a guilty plea in October 2019. Medus resigned from his city job in April, shortly before he was indicted along with Mohamad.
Mohamad awaits a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Lance Africk scheduled for Oct. 25.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey N. Knight is prosecuting the case.