NEW YORK (WABC) – Prosecutors said Wednesday that some prominent buildings in New York were not fully installed.

Manhattan prosecutors and the New York City Department of Investigation have indicted 50 defendants in a kickback scheme to steal money from at least seven developers on construction projects, including 11 Stone Street (FiDi Hotel), 12 East 48th Street (Hilton Club The Central at 5th New York), 101 West 28th Street (Remy) and 189 Bowery (citizenM New York Bowery Hotel).

The scheme was allegedly orchestrated by Robert Besselis, the head of the firm, a construction management company accused of manipulating the competitive bidding process for trade subcontractors. According to court filings, Baselice directed more than $100,000,000 in trade subcontracts and change orders — often at inflated prices — to subcontractors in exchange for kickbacks.

The subcontractors paid more than $4,200,000 to Baselice and more than $2,800,000 to entities controlled by his associates, including Luis Astuta and Paul Noto. Astuta and Noto, in turn, distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in criminal proceeds between entities owned by Frank Camuso and members of his family, the indictment said.

In the 83-count indictment accusing them of conspiracy, 24 individuals and 26 companies are named. There are also various allegations of grand theft, commercial bribery and bid-rigging.

“If the construction process is rigged, we all lose,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “The market suffers from a lack of quality competition, developers are prevented from hiring the best companies at fair prices and, importantly, honest, law-abiding companies are being pushed out by those who have broken the law.”

As Baselice is aware, the Firm’s contracts with developer clients required the Firm to act at all times in the economic interests of the clients, with full transparency, in an “open book” environment and without conflicts of interest. The agreements specifically prohibited kickbacks, prosecutors said.

“Baselice systematically and continuously used his power over the bidding, foreclosure, and requisition processes of the Firm’s trading subcontractors to steal from the Firm’s clients for his own benefit and the benefit of his associates,” court records state.

Baselice’s attorney, Michael Bachner, declined to comment.

The indictment cites numerous reports in which Baselice appears to set the price for subcontracting on various projects.

“On or about May 16, 2017, Kieran Keavney and Robert Besselis exchanged messages via WhatsApp in which Kieran Keavney stated in general and in substance that his ‘figure’ for the ‘foundation’ on the 75 Kenmare Street project was ‘3.65’ . – says the indictment.

“On or about May 16, 2017, in a WhatsApp text message exchange, Kieran Keavney said to Robert Besselis, in essence, ‘I’ve got you in my basement.’

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