Abatement company owner involved in Detroit demos charged in bribery case

Warren — The owner of an asbestos abatement company with a key role in Detroit's federal demolition program was arraigned Wednesday on multiple felony charges stemming from allegations he misrepresented project costs and bribed a contractor.

Kevin Woods, 50, of Harrison Township appeared in 37th District Court to face felony counts of false pretenses and money laundering and a misdemeanor bribery charge. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. 

Fresh piled dirt is seen near a vacant home on Faust near Constance in Detroit after a demolition in 2016.

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Woods' attorney, Rebecca Camargo, said in a statement to The News on Wednesday that her client is "innocent of all charges" and she's looking forward to "aggressively defending him in this case."

"We believe Mr. Woods will be exonerated of any criminal activity alleged by the State of Michigan," she added. 

The state Attorney General's Office on Tuesday announced the charges for Woods, president of BBEK Environmental in Warren. Woods' asbestos abatement company performed subcontracting work for the Detroit Land Bank Authority under the city's federally funded demolition program. 

Woods turned himself in to authorities Tuesday at the Michigan State Police Metro South Post in Taylor. He was released following his arraignment on a $50,000 personal bond.

He's due back in court for a probable cause conference on March 11.

In 2019, Woods was suspended from participating in land bank and city contracts after officials found possible conflicts of interest.

The charges announced Tuesday are the result of a U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation into how 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.

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

The AG's office also accuses Woods of violating the Asbestos Abatement Contractor’s Licensing Act by falsifying project costs to lower what was owed to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

A forensic review of Woods' submissions between 2015 through 2019, investigators contend, reveal that he "cheated the state of Michigan out of roughly $26,600 in fees."