Detroit demolition probe leads to felony charges for former subcontractor

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The head of a southeast Michigan asbestos abatement company that performed subcontracted work for the Detroit Land Bank Authority is facing multiple felony charges related to alleged bribes and violations, the state Attorney General's Office announced Tuesday.

Kevin Woods, 50, of Harrison Township, who is listed as president of BBEK Environmental in Warren, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday at the Michigan State Police Metro South Post in Taylor. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at 37th District Court in Warren on: 

Kevin Woods performed subcontract work for the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

•Four counts of false pretenses over $100,000, a 20-year felony

•One count of false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000, a five-year felony

•One count of money laundering, a 10-year felony

•One count of bribery of an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

In 2019, Woods was suspended from Detroit Land Bank Authority contracts and city work after officials found possible conflicts of interest.

The charges announced Tuesday stem from a U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation into Troubled Asset Relief Program funds for Detroit Land Bank demolitions. During the probe, "it became known that Woods had inappropriately paid Aradondo Haskins to obtain contracts with Haskins’ former employer, Adamo Group," a regional demolition contractor that worked for the Detroit Land Bank Authority and hired BBEK as a subcontractor, the Attorney General's Office said.

Investigators allege BBEK was frequently tapped for abatement work due to several alleged bribes from Woods to Haskins, who was sentenced to prison in 2019 after receiving bribes and rigging bids.

"It also became apparent that Woods, between at least 2015 and 2019, was violating Michigan statutes requiring abatement contractors to be independent from air monitoring companies used by the abatement contractor," state officials said.

Two companies that BBEK used, HC Consulting Services and Green Way Environmental, were operated by Woods, Attorney General Dana Nessel's office alleges.

“Our laws on the checks and balances in asbestos removal provide safeguards for the public’s health and anyone who violates those regulations puts our residents in harm’s way," Nessel said in a statement.

An investigation into the companies’ finances found Woods profited from the operations by as much as $400,000 since 2015, according to the release.

“There is no room for corruption in federally funded demolitions, as alleged in the charges today,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Woods also reportedly violated the Asbestos Abatement Contractor’s Licensing Act by allegedly falsifying project costs to lower what was owed to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, state representatives said Tuesday.

Woods "was required under law to submit 1 percent of the project costs to the asbestos abatement fund, but would routinely devalue the project by as much as 50 percent to avoid contributing to the fund," Nessel's office said.

"A forensic review of Woods’ submissions over the course of ... 2015 through 2019, indicate he cheated the state of Michigan out of roughly $26,600 in fees."

Woods did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.