New York City’s building commissioner is under investigation as part of a gambling probe, with him possibly racking up debts during card games with mob associates and working to use his position to pay them back, law-enforcement sources told The Post on Tuesday.
Department of Buildings chief Eric Ulrich, a former city councilman, was served a search warrant by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office outside his home in Queens in the morning, according to sources.
Investigators seized Ulrich’s cell phone during the search, sources said.
Probers are focusing on gambling that Ulrich allegedly participated in in back rooms in Ozone Park, Queens, apparently before he joined Mayor Eric Adams’ administration this year, sources said.
He has not been criminally charged.
The probe has been ongoing for roughly the last year, though Ulrich was not the initial target, with the investigation at first focused on organized crime, sources said.
Ulrich has not responded to requests for comment from The Post. DA spokeswoman Danielle Filson declined comment.
Adams didn’t take questions from reporters as he arrived at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.
“Our administration has no knowledge of any type of investigation,” Adams rep Fabien Levy said. “If an investigation were to be conducted, we would expect any member of this administration to cooperate fully.”
Ulrich, a Republican, served on the council from 2009 until he was term-limited out at the end of 2021. This year, he joined the Adams administration first as a senior adviser to the mayor before he was bumped up this spring to his $243,171-a-year gig as commissioner.
Adams announced the appointment of Ulrich in early May along with Kazimir Vilenchik as first deputy commissioner.
“Eric Ulrich and Kazimir Vilenchik are the right leadership team at the right time for the Department of Buildings,” Adams said in a May 3 press release.
While still a councilman, Ulrich reported gambling winnings on his city ethics disclosures of between $5,000 and $47,999 in 2016 and 2017. He reported the same range in winnings from the New York State Lottery for each of 2018, 2019 and 2020, disclosures show.
In 2021, Ulrich said in a Facebook post that he was battling alcoholism and looking to get sober.
“The COVID pandemic has affected people in different ways,” Ulrich said at the time. “What used to be mainly a social activity, and a way to cope with stress, and a way to cope with stress, has now become far too frequent and self-destructive.”
-Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks