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Topic: The never ending Rizzo Trash deal
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

WXYZ TV 7
Asphalt repair project leads to latest federal charges in Macomb County

Jim Kiertzner
6:22 PM, Aug 31, 2017




MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - It started out as a simple project to repair asphalt in the parking lot of the Macomb Township Hall.


Four bids were submitted by contractors and one was recommended to get the work for $103,950.

But a year later, a company that did not big was paid $254,000 for the same job. And after that, he was given a second parking lot job for another 264,000.

The documents were among several obtained in a FOIA request to the township by former Supervisor Mark Grabow because he thought the projects didn’t add up.

On Monday, the feds charged Chris Sorrentino in a case that alleges he did no work, was paid and gave kickbacks totaling $66,000 to an elected official not named by the feds.

Former Deputy Clerk Jim Gelios says his former boss, who died last year of a terminal illness, gave boxes of documents to the feds.

Current Township Supervisor Janet Dunn tells 7 Action News she doesn’t know what happened, even though it was on her watch.

The new Township Clerk Kristi Pozzi says an outside company needs to come in and find out what’s going on.
Post Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:44 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Former Macomb County official charged in public corruption case

James Pistilli PHOTO -- LINKEDIN.COM
By Mitch Hotts, The Macomb Daily
POSTED: 09/05/17, 7:25 PM EDT | UPDATED: 7 HRS AGO
A former Macomb County public works chief engineer was named by federal prosecutors Tuesday in connection to a widespread pay-to-play corruption scandal in the county.

James Pistilli was charged with one count of bribery conspiracy for his part in steering cash bribes to a Washington Township official to gain a contract with the township.

It’s the first time someone tied to the administration of former Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco has been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Marrocco is under investigation by the FBI.

Pistilli, 68, of Holly, retired in 2012 after one year as the chief engineer for the Macomb County public works office, according to a spokesman for the current public works commissioner, Candice Miller. He is the 15th defendant charged so far in the case.


He was charged in what’s referred to as an information, a charging document that usually indicates a defendant is cooperating with authorities. No lawyer was listed for Pistilli in the court filing system.

According to federal prosecutors, Pistilli conspired with Paulin Modi, a civil engineer, and at least one other individual to give $2,000 to Steven Hohensee, a former Washington Township public works superintendent to secure a contract from the township for an unnamed company.

The alleged bribery took place in 2014, when Pistilli and Modi were employed with Giffels Webster, an engineering firm. Neither man is still with the firm, according to Giffels Webster partner Matt Schwanitz.

“This was a surprise to us,” Schwanitz said. “We are not the target of the investigation, we were told that by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Schwanitz said the firm is cooperating with federal investigators if needed. Schwanitz said when Pistilli was employed by the engineering firm, he worked on a part-time basis or about 20 hours a week.

“We are a really good firm, with really good employees and really good clients,” Schwanitz said. “I don’t know what’s going on with all of this, but I can say we were told that we are not a target of the investigation.”

Federal authorities previously charged Hohensee, the former Washington Township DPW boss, with accepting $10,000 in bribes from an undercover informant who was working for the FBI. Hohensee later agreed to work for the FBI, according to court documents.

Pistilli previously was assistant chief engineer for Macomb County for about seven years.

According to his Linkedin.com account, he also worked for 10 years as chief engineer for the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office.

The case is part of a larger and ongoing corruption investigation focusing on pay-to-play schemes in the county that apparently started with a probe into public officials being bribed to approve municipal contracts with Rizzo Environmental Services, a trash-hauling firm in Sterling Heights, which has since been sold.

It’s the second case for Washington Township.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in an unusual move, this past May identified the township official who acted as a whistle blower in the case. Township Supervisor Dan O’Leary was credited by federal prosecutors with tipping them off to the alleged bribery in his community.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said in May that her office has produced records for federal investigators who apparently were looking at her predecessor’s 24 years in office. Miller defeated Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco in November.

Marrocco hasn’t made any public comments.

The FBI was inquiring about Marrocco and former deputy Dino Bucci -- who also is a Macomb Township trustee -- and had requested invoices and emails relating to the pair, according to Miller.
Post Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:10 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Feds charge ex-Macomb engineer in corruption case
Robert Snell, The Detroit News Published 3:48 p.m. ET Sept. 5, 2017 | Updated 6:57 p.m. ET Sept. 5, 2017
Detroit — Federal prosecutors charged the former chief engineer of Macomb County for his role in the Macomb County corruption scandal Tuesday, accusing him of funneling bribes to a Washington Township public official.

James Pistilli, 68, of Holly was charged with bribery conspiracy, a 10-year felony, according to a federal court filing Tuesday in federal court. He is the 15th person charged in the widening scandal.

Pistilli was charged in a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is expected.

Pistilli learned that he was charged with a crime Tuesday from The Detroit News and expressed confusion about the allegations.

“I was involved but I really didn’t understand what was going on,” he said. “It was really a sad situation for me. My wife had passed away and I was pretty screwed up at the time.”

Pistilli was chief engineer for Macomb County’s public works office from August 2011 until June 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.


The conspiracy involving Pistilli dates to spring 2014, the filing alleges. He conspired to give $2,000 to Washington Township public works superintendent Steven Hohensee, according to the court filing.

Pistilli and a second man, engineering contractor Paulin Modi, served as middlemen for an unnamed company that was trying to win a contract with Washington Township, according to court records.

Pistilli and Modi worked for the engineering firm Giffels Webster, a company that has numerous municipal contracts in Metro Detroit. Modi is expected to plead guilty Sept. 12.

During the time listed in the court filing, Pistilli worked as a senior project manager for Giffels Webster.

Neither man currently works for the company, Giffels Webster partner Matt Schwanitz said Tuesday.

“The U.S. Attorney has said our firm is not a subject or a target in this investigation,” Schwanitz said. “I need to see what’s going on.”

On Oct. 20, 2014, an employee from the unnamed company met Hohensee and paid a $2,000 bribe, prosecutors allege.

Hohensee, however, was working undercover for the FBI, according to the filing.

The charge is the latest in a wide-ranging, ongoing investigation into public officials pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Sterling Heights trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services and a towing company.

The court filing is the first time federal prosecutors have charged someone who previously worked for former Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco.


The filing comes four months after Marrocco’s successor, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, said a federal grand jury was investigating that office and had subpoenaed testimony from about a dozen public employees.


FBI agents are asking questions about Marrocco, his former deputy, Dino Bucci, and millions of dollars in payments to an unnamed county contractor, Miller said.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2486

Twitter: @robertsnellnews
Post Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:02 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Contractor admits paying Macomb official kickbacks, but says he 'lost money' in return
Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Published 5:14 p.m. ET Oct. 3, 2017 | Updated 7:45 p.m. ET Oct. 3, 2017

The federal government dropped a legal bomb on three millionaire businessmen today, indicting ex-trash company CEO Charles "Chuck” Rizzo, his father and towing company magnate Gasper Fiore on a slew of bribery and fraud charges. Ann Zaniewski/Detroit Free Press


In the world of public corruption, paying kickbacks typically means getting something in return.

For contractor Christopher Sorrentino, who admitted today to funneling $66,000 in kickbacks to a Macomb Township official, it didn't exactly work that way — or so he claims.

In a plea agreement signed today, Sorrentino said he "made no money" on a parking lot paving deal that landed him in federal court, but rather "lost money" delivering kickbacks to an elected official who promised him work.

According to multiple sources familiar with the probe, the official who received the kickbacks is Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci, who also is a former employee of the Macomb County Public Works department.

Bucci has not been criminally charged in the case, but is facing a civil lawsuit in federal court in which he is accused of extorting a different contractor.



FBI is said to have a load of dirt on Macomb official Dino Bucci

Ex-FBI chief: Chuck Rizzo doomed for turning on the feds

Sorrentino, meanwhile, pleaded guilty today to financial structuring — a crime that involves tricking the bank into how much money someone is depositing to avoid reporting requirements. The trickery was meant to hide the kickbacks he was funneling to the official. Sorrentino faces 10-16 months in prison under the terms of his plea deal.

Here's how the scheme worked, according to Sorrentino's plea agreement:

In 2014, Sorrentino received $254,500 from Macomb Township for work that he never did: He was supposed to pave a parking lot for the township fire station, but someone else did the job. After the job was complete, an unnamed township official told Sorrentino to send a check for $181,000 to the contractor who did the work and to give him the rest: about $73,000.

Sorrentino ended up keeping $7,000 to cover the taxes on the money he was paid, and gave $66,000 to the official. He paid the kickback by writing a series of seven checks, each for slightly less than $10,000 to avoid a federal reporting requirement.

Sorrentino then cashed all of the checks at his bank and gave the cash to the official as a kickback, he admitted.

In 2015, this same scenario happened again. Sorrentino received money from Macomb Township for a paving job that someone else did. He paid that company that did the work, gave $30,000 to the elected official and kept a portion of the money to cover his taxes.

"In the end, the defendant made no money on the two jobs for Macomb Township, but instead lost money because of the taxes that he had to pay on the two jobs 'awarded' by the elected official of Macomb township," states Sorrentino's guilty plea agreement.

Sorrentino's lawyer, Art Weiss, defended his client's reputation, saying he got duped by a public official who misrepresented what was really going on.


"He was an honest contractor who thought that he was getting a legitimate contract," Weiss said. "He got the rug pulled out from under him."

Weiss said Sorrentino is as "honest as the day is long" and noted that this is his first brush with the law.

Bucci could not be reached for comment and neither could his attorney, Domnick Sorise.

Today's plea is part of the government's wide-ranging corruption investigation that triggered the demise of trash giant Rizzo Environmental Services last fall and landed its founders in federal court, along with millionaire towing titan Gasper Fiore and 13 others.

Among the allegations is that the Rizzos and Fiore stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Rizzo garbage company while it was majority-owned by others and used some of the money to build Rizzo Jr.'s Bloomfield Township mansion. Chuck Rizzo Jr. and Fiore also are accused of paying bribes in order to secure contracts in various municipalities.

Chuck Rizzo Jr., Chuck Rizzo Sr. and Fiore have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond.

Since the FBI disclosed the probe last fall, 10 defendants have cut deals. The defendants include an ex-lawyer, an engineering contractor, a former executive with Rizzo Environmental Services and six public officials.

According to Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, the FBI’s corruption probe has zeroed in on her office, with about 10 employees being specifically questioned this past year about Bucci and his one-time powerful boss Anthony Marrocco, the longtime public works commissioner before Miller.

Contact Tresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas.
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:20 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FBI witness dies amid Macomb corruption probe
Robert Snell, The Detroit News Published 11:04 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2017 | Updated 2:37 p.m. ET Oct. 6, 2017

Detroit – A cooperating FBI witness in the Macomb County corruption scandal, who helped secure charges against others in the case, died Wednesday, two days after being released on bond.

Former Washington Township public works superintendent Steven Hohensee died of apparent natural causes, Shelby Township Deputy Police Chief Mark Coil said. The impact on the widespread corruption case, which has led to 16 people being charged with crimes, was unclear Friday.

Hohensee, 61, of Shelby Township died two days after a federal magistrate released him on $10,000 unsecured bond. The married father of four was charged in July with accepting $10,000 in bribes from a confidential FBI source – a 10-year felony – and was expected to plead guilty.

Township police did not know Hohensee factored into the FBI investigation until Friday. After learning about his role in the scandal from The Detroit News, police decided to take another look at Hohensee’s death.

“This man wasn’t on our radar, we didn’t know who this man was or what part he played in this (FBI) investigation,” Coil said. “Our investigators and the (Macomb County) medical examiner will take another look to rule out foul play.”

An autopsy will be conducted Friday, Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz said.

"There are questions about why he died," Spitz said. "We're looking into it."

Autopsy results likely won't be available until after his office completes additional tests, Spitz added.

Hohensee had suffered from “significant” health issues lately, his defense lawyer Martin Crandall said Friday.

“He was a gentleman, a wonderful father, wonderful husband and a real asset to our community,” Crandall said. “He was a very giving person and a veteran of the United States Navy.”

The bribery charge will be dismissed, Crandall said.

Hohensee’s death is the latest development in a wide-ranging scandal involving public officials pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Sterling Heights trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services and a towing company.

Hohensee’s role in the investigation became more clear this fall as others charged in the scandal reached plea deals with the government.

Former Macomb County Public Works Department chief engineer James Pistilli and engineer Paulin Modi conspired to pay Hohensee a $2,000 bribe in 2014, prosecutors allege.

Hohensee, however, was cooperating with the FBI at the time.

Pistilli, 68, of Holly, and Modi, 48, of Troy, have since reached plea deals and are awaiting sentencing in federal court.


A third man, paving contractor Christopher Sorrentino, struck a plea deal Wednesday – the same day Hohensee died – and admitted delivering $66,000 in kickbacks to a Macomb Township official. That official is township Trustee Dino Bucci, The Detroit News has learned.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews

(313) 222-2486
Post Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:24 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

White collar crime expert: Macomb County corruption case could linger for months
Chuck Rizzo built a trash-hauling empire, winning lucrative contracts in several Macomb County communities before selling to GFL as news of a federal probe broke last year.

POSTED: 10/16/17, 10:45 AM EDT | UPDATED: 5 DAYS AGO 0 COMMENTS
Bad deal for Rizzo, says former federal prosecutor


With 17 defendants charged thus far -- and more expected -- in the Macomb County public corruption probe, one former federal prosecutor who specialized in white collar crime expects the case to linger in the courts until next summer.

Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, said investigators are following the “standard playbook” in prosecuting the suspects in the pay-to-play scandal.

“They start with the bribe payers, those on the outer circles and move inward to the so-called bagmen or go-betweens and then to the public officials,” Henning said.





“Typically, the highest level officials come at the end. These cases depend on the testimony of people who were inside the room when the bribe was paid. That’s how they build a case.”


In court documents, the FBI says it has evidence including undercover agents, telephone wiretaps, and audio and video tapes.

To date, 10 of the 17 defendants have reached plea agreements with prosecutors. One defendant died. Those include five former local elected township officials and several well-known business operators.

A BREAK IN THE CASE

The case took a huge step forward Wednesday when Chuck Rizzo Jr., head of the now-defunct Rizzo Environmental Services trash hauling firm in Sterling Heights, and his father Charles Rizzo Sr., agreed to a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The father and son were indicted earlier this year on bribery and fraud charges.

In the indictment, federal prosecutors said the Rizzos stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their company before it was sold, and used some of the cash to finance a Bloomfield Township mansion for the younger Rizzo.

They had previously agreed to cooperate with the investigation until they found out prosecutors still wanted them to serve time in prison and then backed out. Now they’ve apparently changed their minds.

They are due in court on Nov. 9.

Their Washington, D.C.-based defense attorneys, David Debold and Ariel Glasner, did not return phone calls from The Macomb Daily for this report.

Rizzo Environmental Services was able to lock in contracts with dozens of southeast Michigan communities over the past five years before the business was sold to Green For Life Inc. (GLF). Rizzo more than doubled the metro Detroit communities it served, from 20 in 2010 to about 55. Among those are the Oakland County communities of Bloomfield Hills,Bloomfield Township, Franklin, Hazel Park, Highland Township, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Madison Heights, Milford, Milford Township, Northville Township, Orchard Lake, Oxford, Rochester, Royal Oak, Royal Oak Township, Sylvan Lake, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township and White Lake Township.

Henning, the former federal assistant prosecutor, said the growth may have been an attempt by Rizzo to “dress up the books” by gaining the clients to enhance the company’s image prior to the sale.

One of those communities was Clinton Township, where former Trustee Dean Reynolds was indicted. Investigators suspect he accepted tens of thousands of dollars and the services of a divorce attorney for endorsing Rizzo in his town, which approved an 18-year contract extension.

Reynolds, who has refused to cooperate with investigators and continues to maintain his innocence, did not return a phone call seeking comment for this report.

But Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon said Reynolds still visits the township Civic Center.

“He tells our employees that he will beat the rap. He says he’s innocent,” said Cannon, who trounced Reynolds in the 2016 election for supervisor.

Meanwhile, many suspect investigators are now focusing on ex-acomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco and his former employee, Dino Bucci, a Macomb Township trustee.

Several of the defendants have direct ties to the public works office.

According to current Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, about a dozen employes have testified before a federal grand jury about Marrocco and Bucci. The FBI has also seized numerous documents and invoices relating to the pair, including some bills that stated “give the check to Bucci or Marrocco.”

Another defendant, Christopher Sorrentino, recently said in court that he received more than $500,000 for two paving jobs in Macomb Township that he didn’t perform in a deal arranged by an unnamed elected township official.

He further said he was told to deliver kickbacks to the elected township official in the Macomb County Department of Public Works building in Clinton Township. Bucci is an elected trustee in Macomb Township who retired in February from the county’s Public Works office as he was scheduled to face a slew of accusations of engaging in corruption on the job.

Bucci has not responded to requests for comment and while maintaining a seat on the township board has frequently missed meetings.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, who states he “knows quite a bit” about the ongoing investigation, said reading the indictments indicates to him that Bucci is part of the probe.

“What is alleged in the indictment is pretty darn blatant -- I don’t know why an arrest hasn’t already been made,” he said. “I realize the FBI is probably building its case, but there seems to be enough evidence there already.”

Henning said the federal government has “built up a lot of momentum” thus far by gaining so many guilty pleas. Still, he said the investigations take a lot of time to complete.

“I could see this going on another nine to 12 months. And then we’ll see if anyone wants to take it to trial,” he said.
Post Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:39 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The Macomb Daily
NEWS

Macomb Township trustee calls for supervisor resignation
Norman Snay, a former clerk of Macomb Township, called for resignations on the board during the Oct. 11 meeting.
Norman Snay, a former clerk of Macomb Township, called for resignations on the board during the Oct. 11 meeting. Nicole Tuttle — For the Macomb Daily
By Nicole Tuttle , For The Macomb Daily
POSTED: 10/16/17, 6:49 AM EDT | 8 COMMENTS
Barbara Tomaszewski was one of the residents who attended a pre-Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting rally on Oct. 11, holding a sign calling for board resignations.
Barbara Tomaszewski was one of the residents who attended a pre-Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting rally on Oct. 11, holding a sign calling for board resignations. Nicole Tuttle — For the Macomb Daily
Despite a pre-meeting rally, residents and even a trustee calling for her resignation, Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn said she will not step down from her post.

“I would like to say that I respect everyone’s statements in regard to resigning my position as supervisor. In the last election I received over 29,000 votes, 90 percent of the total votes cast,” Dunn said during the Oct. 11 Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting. “And I will not abandon the people who elected me. I will fulfill my duties as supervisor and strive to make Macomb Township a community of excellence.”

At the meeting Trustee Timothy Bussineau asked Dunn to either resign or use her position “for good, for unity.”

“I am asking you madame supervisor to do something good for our township,” Bussineau said. “And that is to really change the culture of this township government. Two ways this could happen. One of the ways you refuse to do. The second way is going forward using the statutory authority and the power of that chair.”


Bussineau described township hall government and culture as “one of politics, denial, revenge and personal attacks,” adding he has experienced these problems himself, indicating he knew Dunn and another board member through community events and projects prior to being elected but found himself isolated when he chose to run for office.

“Your constant message to me is to stay quiet and to stay out of the way. And quit trying to engage myself in the solutions. Culminating with your e-mail a few weeks ago in which you tried to tell me to refrain from contacting any employee about any agenda item,” Bussineau said.

Dunn did not respond to a request from The Macomb Daily to answer his claim.

Prior to the Wednesday board meeting, Bussineau lead a rally in front of township hall.

“This is kind of unusual for a trustee to call something like this. But you all know we are in unusual times,” Bussineau said at the rally.

He said the impetus for the gathering were comments made by Dunn in a Macomb Daily article published Oct. 5.

“Enough is enough. When I ran for office I knew that I was going to take some things on my shoulders. I knew I was going to take hits. I knew my family was going to take hits. When it got to you, when they started attacking you, enough was enough,” Bussineau said to residents during the rally.

Former Macomb Township supervisor Mark Grabow , who has lost office to Dunn and has lost to her since -- as recently as last year -- called for the resignation of some board members.

“These people have got to go. We can’t allow this type of tyranny in this community,” Grabow said.

In the rainy weather conditions approximately 30 people attended the outdoor rally, but residents later filled almost every seat in the large boardroom of township hall. During public comments sections of the meeting, several residents called upon Dunn and other members of the board to resign.

“Step down. Get out of here. Go. Because if you don’t go, I think something is going to happen,” former Macomb Township Clerk Norman Snay said.

Macomb Township Treasurer Karen Goodhue was absent from the meeting, with Deputy Treasurer Carl D’Andrea sitting in her place. Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci -- who has been indirectly linked to an ongoing FBI investigation of corruption in the county -- was also absent.

As part of the investigation, former Macomb Township trustee, Clifford Freitas, was charged in October 2016 with bribery and conspiracy.

Both Grabow and former Macomb Township deputy clerk James Gelios told The Macomb Daily prior to the rally that they have turned over multiple documents to the FBI. Gelios spoke during a public comments portion of the meeting, taking Dunn to task for her comments in the Oct. 5 Macomb Daily article.

“It is something good for the residents to spend the time and energy to try to get rid of the graft and corruption in this township that you seem to ignore or deny. I have got news for you. You are very wrong and the FBI would also disagree with you. In fact there is much more to come from the FBI so you should indeed be concerned. But what I did not hear was, ‘Gee I’m looking into the allegations’ or ‘I am working with the FBI to investigate these allegations’ or ‘I appreciate the residents bringing these items to my attention.’ Nope. We did not hear any of that. Your attempts to dismiss the concerns of the honest, hard-working residents who speak up by also trying to curtail their right to publicly speak at board meetings is pathetic,” Gelios said.

He also made reference to Christopher Sorrentino, a Macomb Township contractor who recently admitted in U.S. District Court in Port Huron he diverted over $90,000 to an unnamed elected public township official for work he did not perform and delivered cash to the official at the Macomb County Department of Public Works. Sorrentino pled guilty to one count of structuring a financial transaction to evade reporting requirements, a five-year felony that also carries a $250,000 fine.

Gelios said federal documents indicate “another elected official and township attorney are clearly implicated” and called upon Bucci and Dunn to resign.
Post Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:02 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Detroit News

Trash giant Rizzo pleads guilty to bribery
Robert Snell, The Detroit News Published 11:34 a.m. ET Nov. 9, 2017 | Updated 2:12 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2017


Port Huron — Trash titan Chuck Rizzo faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Thursday, admitting he bribed Macomb County politicians and stole money from his trash-hauling company while building Rizzo Environmental Services into a regional powerhouse.

Rizzo, 47, of Bloomfield Hills, also will forfeit $4 million and help the government prosecute others ensnared in a wide-ranging public corruption scandal. U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland tentatively scheduled a March 13 sentencing.

The plea to conspiring to commit bribery and wire fraud capped a dramatic downfall for the trash-hauling CEO who is one of the key figures in an ongoing scandal that has led to criminal charges against 17 people — and 11 guilty pleas.

A noticeably thinner Rizzo, dressed in a dark suit, licked his lips but said nothing outside federal court when asked if he had any regrets. His lawyers declined comment.

“The plea today demonstrates that bribe payers face significant penalties for spreading corruption through municipal government — penalties just as severe as those faced by the public officials who take the bribes,” acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement.

The plea deal is contingent on his father, Charles Rizzo, pleading guilty later this month. In exchange, prosecutors will drop attempts to have several commercial and residential properties owned by the duo forfeited to the government. The properties include Chuck Rizzo’s $2.5 million mansion.

If Rizzo provides significant help to prosecutors, the government will ask Cleland the reduce the sentence to a little more than six years in prison.

The scandal is focused on at least three fronts: Macomb County politicians pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Sterling Heights trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services, Grosse Pointe Shores businessman Gasper Fiore’s towing empire, and the Macomb County Public Works office.

“The actions of Mr. Rizzo and others implicated in this wide-ranging Macomb County corruption investigation erodes our trust and confidence in public officials,” said David Gelios, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office, in a statement. “Today's guilty plea represents another significant step towards reinforcing to the public that honest government is essential to our way of life and the FBI and our partners will continue to prioritize the prosecution of both corrupt elected officials and those that would endeavor to bribe them.”

Court records describe how prosecutors say Rizzo bribed Macomb County public officials while building the business, and how he embezzled money from his company to bankroll the bribes.

Five weeks ago, prosecutors revealed that Rizzo and his father, Charles Rizzo, had reached plea deals.

Chuck Rizzo’s guilty plea completes a legal odyssey for the former trash company executive who has gone from star witness for the FBI to a target after he stopped cooperating with the government, fired his high-powered lawyer and got indicted in May.

Rizzo admitted conspiring with others to bribe Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds and Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas. The bribes were designed to influence or reward them in connection with municipal contracts for Rizzo’s trash-hauling company, prosecutors allege.

Chuck Rizzo gave approximately $50,000 to Reynolds and free legal services from 2012 to January 2016. The money was for Reynolds helping secure an extension of a township trash contract in February 2016, according to court records.

Reynolds, 50, is awaiting a trial that was tentatively scheduled for next spring. He was indicted in November 2016 and accused of taking $50,000 to $70,000 in cash from Rizzo in exchange for supporting the firm’s $3.5 million annual contract. He also was charged with taking $17,000 in cash from an undercover FBI agent.

Freitas, 44, struck a plea deal in June and could receive nearly three years in federal prison when sentenced Dec. 14.

Freitas was hired by Rizzo Environmental Services in early 2014 while serving on the Macomb Township board. The next year, the firm acquired the trash-hauling contract with Macomb Township.

Freitas abstained from voting on the contract, but Chuck Rizzo had promised to pay Freitas $35,000 and boost his salary if he used his elected position to help put the company’s fees on residents’ water bills. The move helped save Rizzo Environmental Services billing costs.

In November 2015, Chuck Rizzo had another employee, Quintin Ramanauskas, deliver a $3,000 bribe to Reynolds, according to the plea deal.

Chuck Rizzo also conspired to commit wire fraud from 2014 to 2016, prosecutors allege.

He and others embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Rizzo Environmental Services and used the money to bankroll the bribes, according to court records.

At the time, a New York private equity firm owned 80 percent of the trash company.

“As part of the conspiracy, (Chuck Rizzo) caused fraudulently inflated invoices to be submitted to Rizzo Environmental Services to that the conspirators would then receive cash kickbacks from the money paid by the company,” prosecutors allege. “As part of the conspiracy, interstate email communication was used to conceal the various schemes from the New York private equity firm.”

Rizzo’s father is scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 17.


Chuck Rizzo was the subject of a court-ordered wiretap, admitted responsibility when confronted by the government and agreed to cooperate with an investigation that yielded indictments in fall 2016.

Chuck Rizzo resigned from his namesake company in October 2016, the same month it was acquired by Toronto-based GFL Environmental Inc.

Yet by spring, Chuck Rizzo had cycled through at least two lawyers — including Bloomfield Hills attorney David DuMouchel — and stopped cooperating with the government.

It’s unclear what led to the split, but it is believed to have revolved around whether Rizzo would need to serve a prison sentence after cooperating with the government, sources told The Detroit News.

After Chuck Rizzo stopped cooperating with investigators, he was indicted in May.

“The investigators sifted through volumes of evidence to unravel the multiple and complex schemes, which this group employed to conceal the scent of their illegal activity,” said Manny Muriel, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal division, in a statement.

Chuck Rizzo had help embezzling from the company.

Bloomfield Hills businessman Derrick Hicks was owner and CEO of Southfield-based ASAP Services Inc., which provided garbage carts to tens of thousands of homes serviced by Rizzo’s trash company.

Hicks cut a plea deal and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 14. Prosecutors want him to serve between 21-27 months in federal prison for helping embezzle more than $500,000.

Between 2013 and October 2016, Hicks has admitted committing wire fraud by embezzling money from Rizzo Environmental Services.

At the direction of Chuck Rizzo, Hicks inflated invoices to Rizzo Environmental Services that exaggerated the number of garbage carts delivered by ASAP Services, according to court records. The embezzlement totaled more than $500,000.

Hicks kept some of the cash and split the rest every week with Chuck Rizzo and Ramanauskas, according to the plea deal.

In October 2015, Hicks delivered $50,000 cash to Chuck Rizzo, according to a plea deal. The next month, he gave $3,000 to Ramanauskas.

While free on bond, Hicks has failed multiple drug tests and acknowledged using marijuana.

“Hicks’ repeated conduct in violation of this court’s orders, in contrast to these other defendants who strictly comply, should be considered in fashioning an appropriate sentence,” prosecutors wrote Tuesday.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2486

Twitter: @robertsnellnews


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:55 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Garbage tycoon Chuck Rizzo pleads guilty to bribery, faces 6-10 years
Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Published 11:08 a.m. ET Nov. 9, 2017 | Updated 8:42 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2017


A year after getting indicted in a wide-sweeping corruption probe that toppled his family garbage empire, Chuck Rizzo Jr. pleaded guilty to bribery and wire fraud Thursday, admitting he lined the pockets of public officials to win lucrative contracts.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Rizzo's sentencing guidelines are 168-210 months. However, because of his cooperation, prosecutors have recommended lowering it to 75 months, or 6 years 3 months. U.S District Judge Robert Cleland reminded Rizzo, however, that he could face up to 10 years, as the law allows.

"It could be 10 years ... are you prepared to accept that if that's the way it has to be?" Cleland asked Rizzo.

"Yes," answered Rizzo.

"Sir, how do you plead?" the judge asked.

Rizzo responded, "Guilty, your honor."

Rizzo agreed to forfeit more than $4 million. But it appears he gets to keep the $2.5 million mansion he lives in, and the one next door.

Rizzo, who stood before the judge with his hands clasped in front of him, avoided having to state for himself what he did wrong. Instead, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey read the details from the plea agreement, and Rizzo acknowledged that it was true.



Between 2012 and 2016, while CEO of Rizzo Environmental Services, Rizzo paid $50,000 in bribes to then Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds for help in extending a lucrative garbage contract. He also provided Reynolds with a free lawyer for a legal problem he was having in exchange for his help.


During that same time frame, Rizzo also bribed another public official: Ex-Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas, who also worked for Rizzo's garbage company while he worked for the township. Rizzo admitted that he promised Freitas a $35,000 raise if he would help put residents' trash bills on the water bill, which saved Rizzo money.

As for the wire fraud count, Rizzo admitted that he embezzled thousands of dollars from his garbage company, which was largely owned by a private equity firm in New York. He did this by allowing a contractor to submit inflated invoices to Rizzo. In turn, that contractor would pay kickbacks to Rizzo.

Rizzo said very little during the plea hearing. He left the courthouse saying nothing to reporters, as did his lawyer, Thomas Green, who has vowed to contest the sentencing guidelines.

In court, Green told the judge that he is "eternally optimistic" that he will be able to convince prosecutors that their sentencing numbers are too high. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta grinned from his seat, but said nothing.


“The plea today demonstrates that bribe payers face significant penalties for spreading corruption through municipal government —penalties just as severe as those faced by the public officials who take the bribes,” Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a news release.

Rizzo is among 17 defendants ensnared in a broad public corruption probe in Macomb County that focused on pay-to-play schemes, including many that Rizzo was personally involved in. Rizzo, who was one of the government's key witnesses in the case as he agreed to wear a wire, also helped the FBI ensnare towing titan Gasper Fiore, 56, of Grosse Pointe Shores. Fiore was indicted alongside Rizzo and charged with paying bribes for a towing contract in Clinton Township.

Rizzo and Fiore are the biggest names to surface in the FBI probe, which also triggered charges against Rizzo's father, Charles P. Rizzo, 70, of New Baltimore, who has a plea hearing next month. The Rizzos and Fiore are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Rizzo trash company to pay bribes to politicians and to help build Rizzo Jr.'s mansion in Bloomfield Township.

Tresa Baldas can be reached at tbaldas@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas
Post Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:50 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Posted by gbADMIN at 1:01 am
Flint Crisis in Macomb County?

Nov 20,2016


landfill

The internet has been buzzing about a crisis in Macomb County. Warren Mayor Jim Fouts left a cryptic message on his facebook page. The post claimed a Flint style crisis was brewing in Macomb County. The post caused a firestorm of interest. Other politicians quickly chastised Mayor Fouts. They claim he was causing an unnecessary panic. A press conference was held to sway fears.

What is the issue at hand? Freedom Hill was built on a landfill. The hill is actually garbage. The expansion at Freedom Hill allegedly did some damage to the vents. The garbage creates methane gas and leachates that can be harmful. The vents are supposed to diffuse the methane gas. Claims are that the gas is poisoning the neighbors and causing extremely high cancer levels in that area. The leachates can seep into the Red Run which is a tributary of the Clinton River that runs into Lake Saint Clair which connects to the Detroit River where most of the area residents gets its drinking water.

The beaches have been overrun with sewage and fecal matter for years. Is this connected? Is the feckless corrupt public works department connected? Were some shortcuts allowed at Freedom Hill to cut cost but put residents in harms way? Did all the DEQ reports and findings get properly filled? With all the corruption in Macomb County and the quick response by local politicians to cover it up it makes you wonder????

This should not be under a shroud of secrecy. The tax payers deserve that their government employees are honest and transparent. If children are at risk we deserve to know now, not before the children die or are sick. There are a lot of our Chaldean people in that area. Maybe thats why the local government does not seem to care? The city of Sterling Heights should worry more about the willful poisoning of it’s residents then playing reefer madness busting down people’s doors growing medicine.

Government works for us. They are not superior to us. They are our employees. Our employees should not be actively covering up something that may be a heath crisis larger then Flint.

freedom-hillwater
Posted by gbADMIN at 12:34 pm
Drain the Swamp in Macomb County

Nov 17.2016


munem-pig
Donald Trump talked about “draining the swamp” in Washington DC. Washington DC is filled with corruption. Special interest groups, lobbyists, and career politicians control the agenda. Trump campaigned on cleaning up this mess.

In Macomb County the swamp is overflowing. The FBI is lurking in Macomb County. Rizzo is at the center of the investigation. New names are being implicated almost daily. Former Warren Councilman Chuck Busse, Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds, Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas, Chesterfield Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock, and Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci have all been connected to the corruption. Rizzo Executive Chuck Rizzo Jr. resigned amid the FBI probe. Rampant corruption plagued the Macomb County Public Works department. That was the main issue in that race. The swamp is so disgusting in Macomb County the sewage backs up on the beaches. This sewage is all connected to a mafia crime wave that inhibited true protection of our great lakes.

Anyone with a pulse and half a brain could see the layers of criminal activity that have occurred in Macomb County for decades. Rizzo has been at the center of this ugliness forever. The fact that Rizzo has a “Director of Government Affairs” pretty much sums it up. Joe Munem has been a unsavory character that has been a scourge in Macomb County forever. Munem has a long storied history of causing trouble in Warren and Macomb County. Munem is a RINO that has infiltrated the local Republican party and tried to turn it liberal and progressive. Chad Selweski and other so called reporters have provided cover for Joe Munem for years. The disgusting slob Munem has personally attacked Michigan Republican Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. The Republican party must distance themselves from this pariah. Munem is a bad actor in every sense of the word. Munem is the king of the swamp. Swamp thing Munem has caused irreparable damage to the County.

Reports are that a insider from Rizzo has turned snitch. Many more names are coming out due to this cowardly rat. It is pretty obvious who is the turncoat. After scamming Warren, Macomb County, and Michiganders, Munem even turned in his fellow criminals that fed his crime spree. There is no honor among thieves. Taxpayers are on the hook for shady backroom deals. Poor performance and being ill prepared are the trademarks of these shady deals. All across the county municipalities are being screwed by these shady deals. It is sad that Munem may escape prosecution. The captain of corruption should go down with the sinking ship.

It is time to Drain the Swamp in Macomb County. Flush this turd Munem. Get rid of all the same old cronies that bilk Macomb County for millions. Clean up our water so that our children are not poisoned. Make Macomb County Great again!!
Post Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:46 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The City of Flint mayor-council controversy over the selection of a trash hauling contract as not the first such contract for Rizzo . On June 7, 2001, the Detroit Free Press ran a story "Ne Warren trash pact raises a stink". Reporter Kim North Shine detailed a dispute between Warren councilman Jim Fouts and Warren Mayor Mark Steenberg over a series of flawed trash hauling contracts and the resultant FBI investigation.
The contract in dispute was a 7 year, $11.7 million contract awarded to Rizzo Services, a Warren company with no trash hauling experience.
Fouts had challenged what he called the "questionable" nature of the contract and had bypassed the administration and demanded and even threatened department heads.
Fouts complained "this is a seek and hide administration. I seek answers and they hide answers."
An angry Steenberg called Fouts actions threatening and abusive" towards city employees and he threatened to arrest Fouts for violating the Charter by not going through the administration.
Fouts allegedly also violated a Charter provision when he failed to vote by not being excused.
Fouts cited contract issues every time the trash hauling contract was to be renewed.
In 1991, a man with alleged mafia ties admitted he had been ordered to burn out a competitor to the trash contract. Federal Judge George Steeh had the case and there were allegations that City Management was involved in the firebombing.
Another controversy arose in 1995 by a bidding process by officials that allowed to revise their bids although the sealed bid opening had already occurred. The FBI requested all contract documents as well as all council minutes involving the trash debate.
Post Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:14 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Dino Bucci indicted in Macomb County corruption scandal
www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/macomb/.../dino-bucci.../866715001/
3 hours ago - Feds indict Dino Bucci on 18 counts in Macomb County scandal: It was pay-to-play for years. ...


Dino Bucci, a Macomb Township trustee and former county public works manager, is charged with bribery, fraud, and money laundering. ... Bucci is charged with crimes that involve Rizzo Jr ...



Dino Bucci, a Macomb Township trustee and former county public works manager, is charged with bribery, fraud, and money laundering.



Dino Bucci, a Macomb Township trustee and right-hand man of ex-Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marocco, was indicted on 18 criminal counts today for allegedly running pay-to-play schemes for years in Macomb County and lining his and others' pockets along the way, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

Bucci did this, prosecutors allege, by letting contractors know that if they wanted to do business in Macomb County — they had to give him money and buy tickets to political fundraisers for him and his political allies. One contractor, they claim, decided to “get in the game” by purchasing thousands of dollars in fundraising tickets in order to get engineering contracts.

And to make sure he got what he demanded, Bucci used scare tactics, prosecutors say, alleging Bucci in some instances threatened to withhold permits on development work and home construction in order to force some contractors to pay him tens of thousands of dollars in cash and kickbacks.

The schemes worked for years, prosecutors allege, until the FBI started paying closer attention to the deals that were going down in Michigan's fastest growing county and discovered a pattern of corruption.

Several garbage contracts were dirty, they say. And so were towing deals and public works projects — all of which has triggered criminal charges against 18 people, including Bucci, since the probe surfaced a year ago.

Bucci, 58, is defendant No. 18 in the case that triggered the demise of garbage hauler Rizzo Environmental Services — whose former CEO Chuck Rizzo Jr. pleaded guilty to bribery last week — and landed towing titan Gasper Fiore in court on multiple corruption charges.

Bucci is charged with bribery, extortion, fraud, theft and money laundering in connection with public contracts in Macomb Township and the Macomb County Department of Public Works, where he worked until his longtime boss, Marrocco, was ousted by voters last fall and Candice Miller took over as public works commissioner.

Bucci's lawyer, Stephen Rabaut, was not readily available for comment Wednesday.

Today's indictment reads much like a letter that Miller wrote to Bucci in February, in which she informed him that he was under investigation for "corruption, extortion, bullying and unethical behavior."

Here are some of the allegations raised in the letter:

That during his employment with Public Works, Bucci told contractors who were owed money from the county that they would not get paid until they spoke to Marrocco directly and contributed to his fund-raisers.
That Bucci directed Public Works employees to perform numerous tasks while on county time and while using county equipment, including: removing snow from Bucci's home and the homes of his mother, other relatives, friends and an unnamed Macomb Township official; performing landscaping projects at his home, and moving furniture from his basement. The indictment listed the snow-removal allegation as well.
That Bucci authorized the use of county cell phones for his family members.
FBI is said to have a load of dirt on Macomb official Dino Bucci
According to federal prosecutors, Bucci participated in a nine-year long bribery conspiracy with other public officials and with various contractors. As part of the conspiracy, Bucci directed contractors to give him tens of thousands of dollars in cash, checks, and gift cards in exchange for work and contracts with Macomb Township and Macomb County.

Bucci also directed the contractors to give him hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks and cash as part of political fundraising events — including golf outings and dinners — in exchange for county and township contracts.


While committing these crimes, prosecutors allege, Bucci was a Macomb Township trustee and operations manager for the county public works department.

Bucci is also charged with embezzlement, including taking a $66,000 cash kickback on a contract to repace the Macomb Township Hall parking lot.

Bucci also is charged with stealing from Macomb County by using county employees and equipment to do personal work for himself For example, for years, prosecutors allege, Bucci forced county employees to plow the snow at his residence and at his mother’s residence every time it snowed and made sure that his home was plowed before county facilities were taken care of.

And when there was heavy snowfall, prosecutors allege, Bucci forced county employees to plow the snow for other relatives and friends. County employees also did lawn and other maintenance work at Bucci’s home, and one employee was forced to drive Bucci’s child to a school about 25 minutes away, prosecutors allege.

Bucci threatened to dock the pay of county employees, take away overtime opportunities, and send them to undesirable work locations if they refused to do this personal work for him, prosecutors allege.

Bucci is charged with crimes that involve Rizzo Jr., Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas, paving contractor Christopher Sorrentino.

Sorrentino has pleaded guilty to funneling $66,000 in kickbacks to an unnamed Macomb Township politician (the Free Press has learned this is Bucci) and engineering contractor Paulin Modi, who also pleaded guilty to paying bribes to win contracts.

If convicted, Bucci faces up to 20 years in prison on the fraud, extortion and money laundering charges; and 10 years in prison on the bribery and embezzlement charges.

“The crimes as alleged in today’s indictment highlight a pervasive pattern of past corrupt and illegal practices in Macomb County”, said Detroit's FBI chief David P. Gelios, vowing the FBI and IRS " will continue in the foreseeable future to dedicate investigative resources in Macomb County and elsewhere until the public’s trust in elected officials is bolstered.”

“The eighteen-count indictment handed down today should reassure the public that the investigative team will not leave any rock unturned in the Macomb County corruption investigation,” added Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, IRS-Criminal Investigation.

“Bringing to justice those involved in this near decade long scheme should send a loud and clear message to others that abusing your position as a public official and stealing from the taxpayers will not be tolerated.”




Tresa Baldas can be contacted at tbaldas@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas.
Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:02 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci Charged with Bribery, Extortion, Fraud, Theft and Money Laundering

Macomb Township Trustee and former Macomb County official Dino Bucci, 58, of Macomb Township, was indicted today by a federal grand jury on eighteen counts of conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud, and money laundering, in connection with public contracts in Macomb Township and the Macomb County Department of Public Works, Acting United States Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch announced.

Lemisch was joined in the announcement by David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service.

Count One of the indictment charges Bucci with participating in a nine-year long bribery conspiracy with other public officials and with various contractors. As part of the conspiracy, Bucci directed contractors to give him tens of thousands of dollars in cash, checks, and gift cards in exchange for work and contracts with Macomb Township and Macomb County. Bucci also directed the contractors to give him hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks and cash as part of political fundraising events, including golf outings and dinners, in exchange for county and township contracts. During the course of the conspiracy, Bucci served as an elected Trustee of Macomb Township and as the Operations Manager, among other positions, at the Macomb County Department of Public Works.
As part of the conspiracy, engineering and other contractors knew that they had to “pay-to-play” in order to get county and township contracts by giving money to Bucci and buying tickets to political fundraisers for Bucci and his political allies. One contractor decided to “get in the game” by purchasing thousands of dollars in fundraising tickets in order to get engineering contracts.

In addition to bribery, Bucci is charged with engaging in extortion over the course of at least five years. In this regard, Bucci used his official positions at the county and the township to threaten to withhold permits on development work and home construction in order to force them to pay him tens of thousands of dollars in cash and kickbacks.

Other counts of the indictment charge Bucci with embezzling and conspiring to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from Macomb Township through a variety of criminal and fraud schemes. For example, Bucci got one contractor awarded a job to pave the Macomb Township Hall parking lot for over $250,000. Unbeknownst to the township, however, Bucci had gotten another contractor to do the work for just over $180,000, with Bucci collecting a kickback of $66,000 in cash in a bag at the headquarters of the Macomb County Department of Public Works.

Bucci also is charged in the indictment with stealing from Macomb County by using county employees and equipment to do personal work for Bucci. For example, for years, Bucci forced county employees to plow the snow at Bucci’s residence and at his mother’s residence every time it snowed. When there was a heavy snowfall, Bucci would force county employees to plow the snow for other relatives and friends. Bucci ensured that his home was plowed before county facilities were taken care of by the employees. County employees also did lawn and other maintenance work at Bucci’s home, and one employee was forced to drive Bucci’s child to a school about 25 minutes away. Bucci threatened to dock the pay of county employees, take away overtime opportunities, and send them to undesirable work locations if they refused to do this personal work for him.

Portions of today’s indictment against Bucci charge him with offenses that involve Charles B. Rizzo, Clifford Freitas, Christopher Sorrentino, and Paulin Modi. Each of these men have already pleaded guilty to federal corruption felonies involving Macomb County contracting.

Each of the nine bribery and embezzlement charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Each of the six mail fraud, extortion, and money laundering counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The three bribery conspiracy counts each carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

Acting United States Attorney Lemisch said, “Today’s sweeping indictment of Mr. Bucci, who was a public official of both Macomb County and Macomb Township, embodies our unbending resolve to unwind long established pay-to-play politics and call to task corrupt officials no matter where they seek to violate the public trust.”

“The crimes as alleged in today’s indictment highlight a pervasive pattern of past corrupt and illegal practices in Macomb County”, said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. “As such, the FBI and the IRS will continue in the foreseeable future to dedicate investigative resources in Macomb County and elsewhere until the public’s trust in elected officials is bolstered, and honest and responsible government is the order of the day.”

“The eighteen-count indictment handed down today should reassure the public that the investigative team will not leave any rock unturned in the Macomb County corruption investigation,” stated Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Bringing to justice those involved in this near decade long scheme should send a loud and clear message to others that abusing your position as a public official and stealing from the taxpayers will not be tolerated.”

This case is part of the government’s wide-ranging corruption investigation centered in Macomb County, Michigan. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Gardey, R. Michael Bullotta, and Adriana Dydell.

An indictment is only a charging document and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
Topic(s):
Public Corruption
Component(s):
USAO - Michigan, Eastern
Updated November 15, 2017
Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:13 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Bucci arraigned in Macomb County corruption case, is Marrocco next?

Jim Kiertzner
6:35 PM, Nov 16, 2017
6:35 PM, Nov 16, 2017


DETROIT (WXYZ) - Fifty-eight-year-old Dino Bucci is out on $10,000 unsecured bond and can’t travel outside of Michigan without the feds approval.

He’s facing 20 years in prison on 18 counts of Bribery, Conspiracy, Extortion, Embezzlement and made no comment as he left federal court.

Did Bucci act alone? Is he protecting anyone?

Sources tell 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner that Bucci had an opportunity to cooperate with the feds and get a softer landing, but told them to walk.

A prominent name now emerging in the case is Bucci’s former boss, Tony Marrocco, the former Macomb County Public Works Commissioner who was voted out last year.


“I was not supportive of him in his re-election bid. There was a reason why,” Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel tells Kiertzner.

Among the allegations against Bucci are he directed county employees to plow snow at his house, his relatives’ homes and had his kid driven to school at taxpayers expense.

Former Macomb Township Supervisor Mark Grabow says of those employees, “No longer with they be in fear of being bullied, threatened with their jobs, be able to come to work and do the jobs they were hired to do.”

Hackel adds, “People were afraid to come forward because they didn’t know somebody was going to do something about it. Well now they know.”
Post Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:15 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

January 19, 2014 12:00 p.m. UPDATED 1/22/2014
Preparing for Detroit waste contract, growing Rizzo drops plan for landfill
By Chad Halcom


JOHN SOBCZAK
Chuck Rizzo Jr., CEO of Rizzo Environmental Services Inc., said the waste hauler plans this week to end its option agreement on 316 acres where it had proposed a landfill in Lenox Township.

Sterling Heights-based Rizzo Environmental Services Inc. has seen so much growth recently in municipal and commercial waste collection contracts that it no longer sees a need to diversify into landfills.

The turning points: Waste collected by Rizzo under a new trash hauling and curbside recycling contract award from the city of Detroit apparently won't be leaving the city, and St. Clair County may become a disposal option for some of its Macomb County suburban customers.

Company President and CEO Chuck Rizzo Jr. said the family-owned waste hauler plans this week to terminate its option agreement on 316 acres of land where it had proposed the Clinton Valley Farms landfill in Lenox Township. It will also table its application for Macomb County officials to allow the landfill in favor of a request to export more trash outside the county, he said.

Rizzo said a number of market conditions for waste collection in Southeast Michigan have changed since the company first entered into the Lenox option, about a year ago.


One is the likelihood that Rizzo and Florida-based Advanced Disposal Inc. will be disposing all of Detroit's trash at the Detroit Renewable Energy LLC waste-to-energy plant in the city (known as the Detroit incinerator) once the two new Detroit contractors take over solid waste collection for the city on May 1. That originally wasn't expected to happen, when Detroit first shopped a proposal to privatize waste collection last year.

Another is that neighboring St. Clair County may open its borders to accept Macomb waste soon to its own Smiths Creek Landfill, in a deal that is expected to create more market competition for the Waste Management Inc.-owned Pine Tree Acres landfill in Lenox. Pine Tree is currently Macomb's only open landfill.

"We were concerned about a monopoly (by Waste Management), and amending our request might create the same result," Rizzo said. "This change now helps create the market competition effect of having another landfill in the county, but without the cost of adding another landfill."

Jeffrey Bohm, chairman of the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners, confirmed that the county has reviewed landfill operations with consultants and should "very soon" consider a proposal to amend its solid waste plan and allow waste imports from Macomb and Lapeer counties.

Traditionally a closed county, St. Clair has seen collection at its only active landfill dwindle from about 370,000 tons in 2003 to about 170,000 tons today, largely due to plummeting commercial waste contributions among its local businesses. That brings Smiths Creek to about a break-even operation, he said, and the county has been looking at waste imports to bolster profitability.

"The volumes are way down, and we are looking for a way to get our waste streams stabilized," Bohm said. "Sometimes you have communities that don't address that issue until it's become a problem. We're trying instead to be very proactive."

Rizzo said his company, co-founded in 1998 with his father, Charles Rizzo Sr., maintains a business mix of about 60 percent municipal contracts and 40 percent commercial waste collection contract with large manufacturers and other companies.

Its parent company, Rizzo Group, is co-owned by father and son along with CEO Michael Ferrantino Jr. of EQ – The Environmental Quality Co. in Wayne; New York City-based private equity firm Kinderhook Industries; and Habib Mamou, president of V&M Corp., doing business as Royal Oak Recycling.

Rizzo Environmental has grown steadily through a mix of new residential contracts and business acquisitions, and the company claims it has never lost a municipal contract since Hamtramck became its first customer in 2001.

When Kinderhook acquired its stake in Rizzo Group in 2012, revenue was about $23 million, Chuck Rizzo said. This year, it should exceed $70 million, even before it begins servicing two out of four geographic zones of Detroit.

Rizzo Environmental in November acquired Royal Oak Recycling (Chuck Rizzo estimates the target company revenue was almost $20 million) and in July it won the residential hauling contracts for Eastpointe, Roseville and St. Clair Shores away from Waste Management of Michigan, a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management.

The company also picked up contracts for more than a half dozen Oakland County communities and the management of a Warren transfer station out of the 2012 bankruptcy of Flint-based Richfield Equities LLC, which converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation last February.

Chuck Rizzo and Charles Rizzo Sr. told Crain's the company won its first municipal contract for Hamtramck in 2001 and has since grown to provide services to 32 local communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Adding the Detroit contract is expected to require Rizzo to buy about 40 new vehicles and add 55-60 new jobs, and could add $10.5 million to $11 million in additional yearly revenue, meaning 2014 revenue could approach $80 million depending on when Detroit service begins.

Contract terms are still being finalized, although Chuck Rizzo said the company could start as early as February.

The company also claims a better than an 80 percent success rate on recent municipal bidding against its competitors. Chuck Rizzo credits that track record in part to being a local company without the added overhead costs of Waste Management, Arizona-based Republic Services Inc. and other competitors that also maintain landfills, recyclable materials recovery centers and other nonhauling operations.

The company also has sometimes aggressively pursued new business, even submitting unsolicited bids in the past for St. Clair Shores and Harrison Township. Last fall, it submitted a similar bid to Rochester Hills, and even tried a local politics tactic: contacting a citizens' watchdog group that organized robocalls to residents after that company renewed a Republic Services contract without competitive bidding.

Because of the corporate growth, Rizzo recently acquired 6 acres of land adjacent to its 40,000-square-foot garage and office building in Sterling Heights, where it has been based since 2005. Chuck Rizzo said the company hopes to open a new services center in Pontiac by June if it can clear some Oakland County regulatory approvals in the next few months, but it isn't short on vehicle fleet space.

"There's plenty of capacity here" at Sterling Heights, he said, adding that even with Detroit, the location won't be more than 80 percent full. "And at this location, we're not near very many residential neighborhoods to have concerns about noise or the early morning starts."

Rizzo Environmental also has a bid pending to add Southgate to its waste hauling contracts, and plans upcoming bids on Harrison Township and Washington Township as well as possible acquisitions this year, Rizzo said.

Tom Horton, government affairs manager for the Michigan, Indiana and Ohio region of Waste Management, said the new Rizzo and Advanced Disposal contracts simply prove the Detroit area "has always been a robust, competitive marketplace" for waste haulers, and that competition should continue.

He also said a new $15 million plant that converts landfill gas from the Pine Tree Acres landfill into electricity has helped establish Waste Management as the largest producer of landfill energy in the Midwest.

That plant, completed in 2012, expanded the landfill's power output capacity from 8.8 megawatts to 21.6 megawatts, enough to power about 17,000 homes. Horton also disputes Rizzo's contention that Pine Tree Acres has a monopoly on Macomb waste disposal due to its location and limitations on waste exports.

"These are guidelines, not restrictions, on moving waste in the county's (solid waste management) plan, and these (Rizzo's) allegations that restrictions exist are simply without evidence," he said.

Horton said commercial waste collection in Detroit remains a thriving Waste Management operation.

The company handles recycling and hauls paper and cardboard waste for reuse for General Motors Co. at the Renaissance Center headquarters, under a zero-landfill conversion plan the automaker completed at its headquarters complex in December. But Royal Oak Recycling, now a Rizzo company, also bales and ships paper from the RenCen to be resold as material and cereal box and tissue paper.

Both Rizzo and Advanced Disposal, the company awarded the other half of the Detroit contract, are expected to send waste to the Detroit incinerator. The city is being divided into east and west collection zones as part of the contract.

Detroit Renewable Power President John O'Sullivan confirmed the two new waste contractors recently informed his company they will send all Detroit waste to the plant, either directly or by way of a Southfield transfer station.

"It's my understanding that's the city's choice, though we haven't had much direct communication from the city recently," O'Sullivan said. "That may change soon, though, since a new mayoral administration is in and we expect to see some new activity now on its (Detroit's) operations side."

Chad Halcom: (313) 446-6796, chalcom@crain.com. Twitter: @chadhalcom
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