The head of New York City’s Department of Buildings resigned Thursday amid a gambling probe by Manhattan prosecutors, according to three administration officials familiar with the development.
Eric Ulrich, 37, steps down almost six months to the day he was appointed to the job. He had his phone seized earlier this week as part of the investigation, the scope of which wasn’t clear, the officials said.
Department of Buildings First Deputy Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik will serve as acting commissioner. Administration officials said the city had full confidence in its buildings team and assured New Yorkers no city services would be impacted by the change.
Mayor Eric Adams confirmed he accepted Ulrich’s resignation and appreciated his effort not to become a distraction.
Asked if he’d been made aware of the underlying investigation, Adams, a Democrat, said he was only familiar with reporting he had seen in papers and he doesn’t deal in “rumors.”
Adams’ press secretary, Fabien Levy, later released an official statement indicating the same.
“This morning, Eric Ulrich tendered his resignation as DOB commissioner in an effort to, in his words, avoid ‘unnecessary distraction for the Adams administration,’” Levy said. “We have accepted his resignation, appreciate him taking this step, and wish him well. We have no further knowledge of any investigation and, out of respect for his and his family’s privacy, have nothing further to add.”
Legal representation for Ulrich wasn’t immediately clear, nor were the details of the Manhattan investigation.
Alvin Bragg’s office declined to comment.
Ulrich, a Republican, served Queens’ 32nd District for more than a decade after winning the non-partisan special election to replace an outgoing New York state Senate member in February 2009. He was elected the next three terms and served until his limit was up in 2021.
Ulrich was named a senior adviser to Adams earlier this year and took the helm of the buildings department in early May. He also serves as a part-time adjunt professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, which is also his alma mater, according to his LinkedIn page.