A former building inspector who has come under scrutiny in a bribery investigation at Los Angeles City Hall allegedly advised a landlord in 2009 to pay $15,000 to resolve a permitting dispute, according to a fraud lawsuit filed last year.

Kyong Ho Cho, 63, filed a case against Samuel In stemming from code enforcement violations at his rental property on Venice Boulevard, where inspectors had cited him for illegally building an apartment inside his garage. [NOTE: Is Sam In "drinking buddies" with L.A. Councilman Herb Wesson? Is Mr. In seen INside Wesson's Council office, a lot? That's what is being bandied about on the internet. Not that THAT means anything. ;-]

Cho said In told him that In's business partner, Tae Seog Lee, would be able to fix the problem — which was caused by a previous contractor — for a fee, the lawsuit states. Cho also accused In of working with Lee on numerous occasions to defraud those who were in "vulnerable situations"— in trouble with city inspectors and lacking English-language skills.

In his lawsuit, Cho said that In presented his Department of Building and Safety business card at their first meeting two years ago. In, 63, promised to use his "official status" to get work on an unpermitted apartment unit approved, the complaint said.

"In represented to Cho that all he had to do is ask the employees at [Building and Safety] because he has 'tremendous influence over the employees because of the many years he was employed by the city as a senior official,'" the lawsuit states.

In, who worked for the city for more than 30 years, was placed on leave May 4 after an internal review of his work records and retired two days later, according to a city memo obtained by The Times. In's voice mail was full on Thursday, and he has not responded to requests for interviews left at residences listed in public records.