Ex-City Hall inspector pleads guilty to wire fraud in case tied to Carrie Austin probe

A former City Hall inspector pleaded guilty to wire fraud Tuesday in a case connected to the investigation of Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Joseph E. Garcia, 38, admitted he steered nearly $100,000 from the city to a contractor without inspecting its work in a porch repair program.

Garcia was accused in a 2019 indictment of submitting bogus documents and falsely claiming to have inspected home-repair projects done for low-income Chicago homeowners, giving City Hall the go-ahead to pay the contractor, the Sun-Times reported.

Though the contractor was not named in Garcia’s indictment, the Sun-Times confirmed the case involves Oakk Construction of Summit, company president Alex Nitchoff and construction superintendent John Bodendorfer, who have not been criminally charged.

Federal investigators raided Austin’s ward office in June 2019, but she has not been criminally charged.