Macomb corruption scandal figure arraigned
Federal prosecutors have charged 12 people in a widespread bribery scandal involving corrupt municipal trash and towing contract. Rob Snell, The Detroit News
Detroit — A former Clinton Township politician indicted in a widespread bribery and public corruption scandal was arraigned Tuesday in federal court and released on bond.
Dean Reynolds, 50, is accused of pocketing bribes and is at the center of an ongoing FBI investigation into public officials accepting cash in exchange for approving municipal contracts with trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services and a towing company. A dozen people have been charged so far.
The court date came almost three weeks after Reynolds was charged in a new indictment and accused of pocketing $23,000 in cash and other bribes between 2009 and 2016.
Reynolds and Detroit towing titan Gasper Fiore were charged with multiple counts of bribery-related offenses in connection with a towing contract. In early 2016, Fiore allegedly gave Reynolds bribes totaling $7,000, prosecutors allege.
The bribes were funneled through former Rizzo trash company CEO Chuck Rizzo, according to the government.
Reynolds appeared briefly in court with lawyer Stephen Rabaut, who declined comment. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub entered a not guilty plea on Reynolds’ behalf.
Fiore, owner of Boulevard and Trumbull Towing, the city’s largest tow firm, has long been a dominant figure in the Detroit towing industry. The ongoing investigation has led to several Detroit police officers and the department’s former legal adviser.
The indictment added new bribery charges against Reynolds, the former Clinton Township trustee.
Reynolds allegedly conspired to commit bribery with former New Haven trustee Brett Harris, according to the indictment.
Reynolds unwittingly introduced Harris to an undercover federal agent, telling the agent Harris was a politician willing to accept bribes, prosecutors allege.
The agent gave Harris $9,000 in cash bribes to help secure a garbage contract in New Haven, according to the indictment.
Reynolds, meanwhile, pocketed $16,000 in bribes between 2009 and 2013 from engineering contractor Paulin Modi to secure an engineering contract for Modi in Clinton Township, prosecutors allege.
Modi, a former partner with Giffels Webster engineering firm, has been charged and is expected to plead guilty. A company official said that Giffels Webster is not a target of the federal investigation.
Reynolds is charged with 10 counts of bribery and four counts of bribery conspiracy.
The bribery charges are 10-year felonies and carry $250,000 fines. Bribery conspiracy is a five-year felony and carries a $250,000 fine.
Reynolds, a Democrat who served three terms on the township Board of Trustees since 2004, was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 13 for allegedly accepting bribes. He lost a November race for township supervisor.
Macomb County resident Angelo Selva agreed Monday to testify against his former friend, ex-Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds, who is charged in the Macomb County bribery scandal. Robert Snell, The Detroit News
Reynolds’ arraignment comes two weeks after prosecutors secured a potentially damaging witness against him. The witness, Macomb County businessman Angelo Selva, was best man at Reynolds’ wedding and struck a plea deal with the government this month.
Selva, 59, helped give thousands of dollars in cash, free legal services and labor to Reynolds in exchange for securing his vote on a Rizzo trash-hauling contract, according to federal court records.
“(Reynolds) is not innocent,” Selva told reporters outside federal court. “Not at all.”
Reynolds is making a fatal mistake by professing his innocence and heading to trial instead of striking a plea deal, Selva said.
“I think he’s cutting his own throat,” Selva said.