Rizzo Environmental Services, which picks up the trash in multiple communities across metro Detroit, is at the center of a federal public corruption investigation that is expected to ensnare numerous local public officials in Macomb County in alleged pay-to-play schemes, according to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the investigation.
The sources told the Free Press that Rizzo is cooperating with the government after getting caught allegedly paying bribes to a Clinton Township official who was arrested Thursday and charged in federal court.
Joseph A. Munem, director of government affairs and public relations for Rizzo, issued a statement late Thursday:
“In this, as in all matters, we’re cooperating with the legal authorities. We will follow their guidance so long as it may be required in the coming weeks,” the company said. “We will continue to focus on delivery of our services, and to demonstrate to our employees, partners and customers that we remain the premier provider of environmental services in our community.”
According to sources, Rizzo Services is the unnamed company that the FBI says paid between $50,000 and $70,000 in cash bribes to Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds for help in securing a lucrative contract. Full Story Here
The Free Press story about the Trustee.
A Macomb County official has been charged with bribery in what the FBI has described as a broader investigation into widespread corruption across the county, where secret video recordings and wiretaps uncovered crooked deals of all sorts, the government said.
“This is an extensive investigation into systemic corruption in multiple municipalities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County,” the FBI wrote in a charging document filed Thursday that named the first defendant ensnared in the probe.
Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds, 49, is charged with pocketing between $50,000 and $70,000 in cash from a businessman who was trying to secure an $18-million contract for his company with the township. Court documents don’t specify what the contract was for.
The bribes started in 2012. In return for the money, Reynolds voted for the contract and provided the company with information about how other trustees would vote, the complaint said.
According to the criminal complaint, that same businessman also provided Reynolds with a free divorce lawyer in exchange for political favors. The FBI had tapped the phones of both Reynolds and the businessman, who after being confronted with the evidence admitted responsibility and agreed to cooperate, records show. The businessman and his company are not named in the complaint.
Rizzo the company that Dearborn Heights is set to sign a contract with after the Mayor of Dearborn Heights hand picked and City Council approved to give the City’s contract for waste removal. Even after Waste Management ‘the company that’s been picking up our waste for years now’ was willing to forgive the City of 200,000.00. This is the same company that a Canadian company bought out after our City agreed to sign a contract with. When asked by Councilman Dave Abdallah if he knew about the company’s Canadian buyout. The Mayor said he had no idea. The owner of Rizzo is set to come before the next Study Session (the Mayor’s idea) to discuss the buy-out. With the FBI now involved it might be a good idea for Rizzo not to come to the council study session and for the City council to do what is right rescind the bid thank them very much and move on.
Debated refuse contract awarded in Sterling Heights to Rizzo Environmental Services
While the vote to award the contract to Rizzo Environmental Services was unanimous, several residents spoke out against it at the April 5 meeting, noting that the process seemed “out of the ordinary” when compared to how the city handled similar issues in the past.
“I have a problem with the way this whole bid thing was handled,” resident Jeff Norgrove said. “It was very sloppy. This is not the way residents are used to. I’ve never heard of an eight-year contract in this city. With what people have witnessed over the past couple months, it looks very bad.”
Council members Barbara Ziarko and Maria Schmidt also expressed reservations about the process.
“(This process) isn’t the way we’ve done it in the past,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully we don’t have to do it like this again. I have concerns with an eight-year contract. We’ve never done it. I understand that in order to get the savings we would have to commit to Rizzo for eight years, but it would be my hope that they would consider a five-year contract with extensions. That would give me and many residents much more peace of mind.”