- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2006

A D.C. Department of Transportation inspector has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an FBI bribery sting that caught him demanding cash from a plumbing contractor to ensure he would not get fined.

“You want your permit right away, right?” Frank Robinson, an inspector with the DDOT Public Space Management Administration, asked the unidentified contractor, according to an FBI affidavit.

“Damn right I want my permit,” the contractor replied.

“You need to love me, baby; you need to love me,” Robinson said before telling the contractor to pay him $500, the FBI document shows.

Robinson pleaded guilty in federal court in the District on Tuesday.

If the case had gone to trial and he had been found guilty by a jury, Robinson could have faced up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. A pre-sentence investigation determining a sentencing guideline range has yet to be completed.

Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Robinson had been under investigation since December 2004. He was arrested in May. The DDOT Public Space Management Administration monitors work performed on public land.

Robinson is one of at least three city transportation officials caught up in bribery investigations since last year.

Wilhelm Der Minassian, former associate director of DDOT, was charged with accepting about $20,000 in cash and gifts, including free car repair work. He was sentenced last year in federal court to more than two years in prison and ordered to pay $100,000 in fines.

Last month, Denard A. Smith, a DDOT inspector, pleaded guilty to charges of seeking cash payments for allowing illegal job sites to operate or to prevent contractors from being fined.

Smith used the term “lunch” as a way of getting cash from contractors who did not obtain city work permits, according to records filed last week in federal court in the District.

“You know what I’m saying: When I say, ‘Take me out to lunch,’ I can’t say, ‘Well, give me some money,’ you know what I’m saying, I’m taking a bribe here,” Smith said in a conversation with a contractor facing a fine, court records showed.

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