A Jefferson Parish building inspector took bribes in return for ignoring code violations or signing off on building inspections that he hadn’t conducted, federal prosecutors alleged Tuesday.
For years, prosecutors said, Alton McClinton sought out and received an unspecified amount of bribe money from people he encountered in his job as an inspector for Jefferson Parish’s Inspection and Code Enforcement Department.
In exchange for the payoffs, McClinton would issue reports “reflecting that no zoning violation had occurred when, in fact, one had occurred,” according to a six-page bill of information filed against him in federal court and signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, who specializes in public corruption prosecutions.
McClinton would also issue inspection reports that said buildings were up to parish code when he had not actually inspected the buildings, prosecutors allege.
McClinton's illicit behavior occurred between January 2014 and August 2017, documents say.
The feds said they are also seeking to seize any property that McClinton may have obtained with the bribe money.
U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser’s office released few details about the allegations against McClinton, and it is unclear if they form part of a broader investigation.
The fact that the charges are contained in a bill rather than a grand jury indictment suggests that McClinton is cooperating with investigators and plans to plead guilty as part of a deal with federal officials.
He faces one charge of using the internet with intent to carry out an unlawful activity. A conviction on the charge can result in prison time and a fine.
Parish President Mike Yenni said McClinton resigned at the end of January. Yenni added that Inspection and Code Enforcement Director Aimee Vallot will conduct her own investigation into the matter in light of the charges against McClinton.
McClinton couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. He had worked for Jefferson Parish for about 11 years prior to his stepping down, records show. His salary last year was about $46,000.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld issued a summons ordering McClinton to appear at an arraignment hearing Feb. 19.
Staff writer Faimon A. Roberts III contributed to this report.