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Resigned Buildings Chief Eric Ulrich Gave Council Job to Co-Owner of Pizza Place Under Gambling Probe

The former DOB head hired Joseph Livreri as a City Council aide in 2019. Livreri is still working under Councilmember Joann Ariola, even as the Manhattan DA investigates possible mob ties.

SHARE Resigned Buildings Chief Eric Ulrich Gave Council Job to Co-Owner of Pizza Place Under Gambling Probe

Then-Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) in 2019.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Eric Ulrich, who resigned last week as Adams’ Department of Buildings commissioner after he was questioned by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in a gambling investigation, gave a government job to the co-owner of the Queens pizzeria linked to the probe, city records show. 

As a City Council member, Ulrich hired Joseph Livreri as an aide in 2019, at a salary of $26,000 a year.  

Livreri remains employed in the same role in the office of Ulrich’s successor, City Councilmember Joann Ariola (R-Queens). He’s one of four employees who worked for Ulrich, then Ariola, and works part time, Ariola told THE CITY. She said that she consulted with the Council’s human resources department and its legal team when news broke about Aldo’s Ozone Park

“We are following their guidance,” Ariola told THE CITY. Livreri owns the Italian restaurant with his brother Anthony.

Livreri handles constituent services and other office responsibilities like setting up for events, according to an aide to Ariola, with a current salary of $22,000. Livreri has received additional payments ranging between $3,000 and $5,000 annually for the last three years. 

Both Ariola and Ulrich attended the 2018 reopening of Aldo’s under the Livreri brothers as new owners. The New York Times reported that the investigation by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg involves possible illegal gambling and mob ties at the Ozone Park eatery, which under previous owners had known connections to organized crime.

Ulrich, appointed by Adams in May to run New York City’s Department of Buildings, has left a trail of records linking him to gambling and to local mob figures. 

On his City Council financial disclosure forms from 2016 through 2021, Ulrich claimed between $5,000 and $47,999 in annual income from what he described as New York Lottery winnings — and that he owed the same approximate amount of debt to the Knights of Columbus in a loan he obtained to “consolidate personal debt.” 

And in 2018 Ulrich wrote a laudatory letter on Council stationery on behalf of Robert Pisani, who was facing sentencing after pleading guilty to federal gambling charges.

Federal prosecutors had identified Pisani as a Bonanno crime family associate, but Ulrich called him a “kind person, devoted family man and selfless individual” as well as his “personal friend.”

Livreri — who has not been accused of any wrongdoing — did not respond to a text message and phone call seeking comment.

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