Not guilty plea for Clinton Twp. trustee in bribe case

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Clinton Township trustee accused of demanding and taking bribes in exchange for his vote on municipal contracts was arraigned in federal court Thursday on eight bribery charges.

Dean Reynolds, 49, appeared with his attorney, Stephen Rabaut, and stood mute to the charges.

U.S. Executive Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and continued bond.

He was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 13 for allegedly accepting $50,000 from a company that secured a “significant” contract with Clinton Township.

Last week, he was indicted by a grand jury on eight counts of bribery involving two companies.

Federal officials have not identified the company, but officials with Rizzo Environmental Services have confirmed they are cooperating in the investigation.

A pretrial conference has been set for Nov. 15 before U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland in Port Huron.

Reynolds and his attorney left court and declined to comment.

In the indictment, the grand jury alleges Reynolds took bribes on three occasions from 2009 through 2016 from two companies — identified only as Company A and Company C — that have business with Clinton Township. The bribes totaled $70,000.

In connection with one company, Reynolds accepted bribes between 2009 and 2013 amounting to $9,000 in cash and a $7,000 check. Between 2012 and 2015, Reynolds demanded and accepted bribes amounting to over $50,000 in cash, along with other things of value, from a second company.

Reynolds accepted bribes on three occasions from an undercover FBI agent totaling $7,000 in 2016. The crime was captured on video, federal officials said.

Reynolds also took an additional $10,000 in cash bribes from a representative of one of the companies after that individual began cooperating with the FBI, according to authorities.

The FBI says it wiretapped a phone conversation in July 2015 during which Reynolds allegedly refers to the businessman and bribes he is receiving in exchange for supporting an $18 million contract.

Reynolds’ arrest on Oct. 13 as well as the Oct. 25 arrest of a second Macomb County elected official, Macomb Township trustee Clifford Freitas, on bribery charges in connection with Rizzo are all part of the FBI’s sweeping public corruption investigation into officials in Macomb County.

Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn, meanwhile, called Thursday for the termination of her community’s contract with Rizzo.

If convicted, Reynolds faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Freitas faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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