Embattled ex-building inspector found guilty in split decisionPosted: Updated:
Walter Booker, a retired Spring Valley building inspector, was found guilty on three of nine felony counts for helping a homeowner get hundreds of thousands of dollars in religious tax exemptions he didn't deserve.
Charges were first filed against Booker years ago before a judge threw them out in 2016. Last summer, a state appellate panel reinstated them.
News 12 reported that prosecutors accused Booker of helping aid property owner Jacob Goldman unlawfully obtain religious tax exemptions.
"Jacob Goldman received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds from state of New York that he wouldn't have been entitled to without the defendant’s signature,” says Richard Moran, of the District Attorney's Office.
The retired chief building inspector is also accused of issuing several false certificates of occupancy for Goldman's home so the owner could operate two day care facilities out of it.
Officials say deputy building inspector Manny Carmona, who allegedly is facing charges of his own, listed the residence as a single-family back in 2011. Months later, Booker voided it and reinstated it as a two-family home.
Last month, Booker waived his right to a trial by jury, letting the judge decide his fate. Judge Larry Schwartz announced his split decision Friday at the Rockland County Courthouse.
Booker's attorney Michael Sussman told News 12 he will make motions on all three counts. He also says the allegation that Booker also issued a false certificate so the former single-family home could be a two-family house and operate two day cares there, is totally false.
“Mr. Booker, in this particular instance, granted a two-family home…long before there were day care centers there, long before anything was going on there, in 2010,” says Sussman. “We had a fair trial, and I expect…that Mr. Booker will be fully vindicated.”
Booker is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14.