Thruway Bridge Inspector Indicted For Accepting Bribe

Attorney General Spitzer, New York State Police Superintendent James McMahon and New York State Inspector General Roslynn Mauskopf today announced the indictment of an Erie County man who allegedly solicited and accepted a bribe to influence safety inspections he was conducting on seven Thruway Authority overpasses in Western New York.

John Loukataris, 38, of Kenmore was arraigned today in State Supreme Court, Erie County and charged with Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, a class "D" felony. The investigation focuses on Loukataris’ activities as an employee of a state sub-contractor, KTA-Tator, to inspect bridges for the Thruway. Loukataris entered a plea of not-guilty before Supreme Court Justice Eugene M. Fahey and was released on his own recognizance.

The indictment by an Erie County Grand Jury alleges that in 2001, Loukataris was an inspector evaluating and assessing the work of GBE Contracting, a commercial painting company conducting a multi-bridge painting and maintenance project. It is further alleged that in September 2001, Loukataris solicited and accepted $5,000 from George Shinas, President of GBE Contracting, with the understanding that this would influence his inspections of the work conducted by GBE.

Loukataris is no longer employed by KTA-Tator, and the company has cooperated with the investigation.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Richard S. Ernst of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau; investigators David Adams and Shaun Thurston of the Investigations Bureau; Investigator Mike Kirkpatrick of the New York State Police; and Deputy Inspector General Charles Norfleet and Investigators Kevin Honikel and Jonathan Masters of the Inspector General’s Office.

Allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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