NIAGARA FALLS – Former city worker Randal S. Ubriaco is not the target of an FBI investigation, officials said Tuesday, a day after a federal agent arrived at City Hall looking to speak with him.
Ubriaco, the city’s former landlord-licensing clerk, said the visit by the FBI was “not a big deal,” adding that an agent called Tuesday to apologize for the publicity that the visit generated.
Speculation stirred in City Hall on Monday that Ubriaco was somehow connected to the bureau’s corruption investigation of plumber John J. Gross Jr. and his relationship with former Building Commissioner Guy A. Bax and two other city officials.
But Ubriaco and federal officials said Tuesday that the city Tourism Advisory Board and Planning Board member was only a witness in the investigation, not a target.
“I don’t know what the big deal was,” Ubriaco said. “Basically, I don’t know what they’re fishing for.”
While Gross was convicted of tax evasion and sent to federal prison earlier this year, the three city officials who were accused of corrupt relationships with the plumber have not been indicted.
Ubriaco, who once worked for Bax in the city’s Inspections Department, said he made statements to investigators after the probe into City Hall and Gross in 2009.
Monday’s visit was an attempt by the agent to “make sure I did not change anything in those statements,” Ubriaco said.
Ubriaco said Bax – in correspondence intercepted by the FBI – made reference to political fundraising tickets that were being sold in the Falls.
But he said Bax had a “vivid imagination,” and “I’ve got no involvement” in the corruption allegations centered on Bax, former Chief Plumbing Inspector George A. Amendola and Chief Electrical Inspector Peter M. Butry.
Buffalo FBI spokeswoman Maureen P. Dempsey confirmed that an agent was at City Hall on Monday but declined to discuss what the visit pertained to.
Ubriaco ceased working for the city in September. He was also a candidate last year for Niagara County Legislature.