An O'Fallon, Missouri, city building inspector has been fired for allegedly comprising his city position, with local home builders. Two other inspectors have been disciplined and the city's investigation is being turned over to the St. Charles County Prosecutor.
The investigation into the performance of 3 of its building inspectors began last week. After interviewing each of them, O'Fallon City Administrator Robert Lowery Jr. says they took action.
"One building inspector has been terminated as a result of an investigation that began last week. I'm concerned and disturbed at some of the things we learned," says Lowery.
Sources say one inspector gave new homes passing grades without final inspections, allegedly in return for building materials used for his new 8 room, 4400 square foot home in a private gated community.
O'Fallon Special Counsel Rick Fischer says the city confronted that former inspector yesterday. Fischer told Newschannel 5, "He has told us he spent $175,000 to build this house and that he got a lot of materials from different builders. He indicated to us with the inspections he would overlook certain things because as he said, that he trusted the builders."
O'Fallon has had explosive growth in its housing market over the last decade. Larry Thieme bought his home just 5 years ago, and already he's patching cracks. "The wall has swollen in," Thieme said, pointing to a 3 inch wide strip of epoxy that runs across his basement wall. And he has video after one rain storm, as water poured over his un-graded yard, into his basement, and right onto his electric box.
City Administrator Lowery says, "These building inspectors are empowered with certain amounts of authority and we can't have them abuse it." Lowery says the city's investigation will be turned over to the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's office to review if any criminal charges may be filed.
Newschannel 5 tried to call the fired inspector, but the calls were not returned.