Former L.A. Department of Building and Safety official alleges he was ousted after blowing whistle on fraud

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The city of Los Angeles’ Development Services Center, which houses the Department of Building and Safety, is shown in an undated photo. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The city of Los Angeles’ Development Services Center, which houses the Department of Building and Safety, is shown in an undated photo. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

A former official at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety alleges that he was ousted after raising concerns at the agency about a host of issues, including millions of dollars lost to fraud.

Steve Ongele, a former bureau chief with the building department, lodged a claim with the city seeking $1 million in damages, alleging that his termination was meant to send a message to other employees to “not report wrongdoing by the city and its employees or you will be fired.”

His claim mentions former department head Frank Bush and new chief Osama Younan, who supervised Ongele and replaced Bush after his retirement.

A Department of Building and Safety spokesman said the city does not comment on pending claims or litigation matters. Representatives for the city attorney and the mayor also declined to comment.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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