Bribery

The People v. Michael J. Whelan, 11 May 1914 (Case 1850)
Guy Culgin, a supervisory chief inspector in the Bureau of Buildings with the oversight of one hundred and thirty inspectors, testifies that Michael Whelan held the position of inspector of masonry and carpentry in 1912 for the Fifth Inspection District, an area of Manhattan extending from Houston Street northwards to Twentieth Street. Culgin states that Whelan filed a notice of violation on 18 December 1912 against the alteration of a garage at 532 East 20th Street, thus causing the work to be stopped. The owners of the garage, the New York Mail Company, had planned to install a steam boiler and to fireproof the structure. Draper Daugherty, a former employee of the company, testifies that Whelan, after entering the premises, had claimed that the work had commenced without a permit. He had then suggested to Daugherty that it would be worth something to the firm to have the work begin again. Ben Hardesty, president of the New York Mail Company, testifies that he had marked five-dollar- and ten-dollar bills with his initials. Daugherty had given the money to the defendant when Whelan had reappeared on the premises on 24 December. Jeremiah Barber, a detective assigned to the 21st Precinct, testifies that he had arrested Whelan and had searched his pockets, immediately discovering the marked bills. Whelan, testifying in his own defense on indictments for bribery and attempted extortion, denies asking for money. He had filed the notice of violation in his capacity as an inspector after discovering that the company had not received a construction permit. Whelan claims that Daugherty had suddenly, without any warning, placed the money in his pocket and that Barber had almost simultaneously made the arrest. There is no record of a jury verdict.