Miller letter claims ‘corruption’ by ex-Macomb Co. aide

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

A newly released letter reveals Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller made allegations in February of “corruption, extortion, bullying and unethical behavior” by former office employee Dino Bucci.

At issue are various matters that allegedly occurred while Bucci worked for former Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco as his $75,000-a-year operations manager for the engineering department. Voters elected Miller to Marrocco’s job last November.

The letter from Miller to Bucci, dated Feb. 9, 2017, and released this week, outlined how a county internal investigation determined he could face discipline or be fired.

The letter alleged “misappropriation of County employees, equipment, resources, your County issued vehicle, County supplied gasoline and time for personal gain, the misuse of your County owned email account for business unrelated to Macomb County, the misuse of County time to conduct business unrelated to Macomb County, insubordination for your blatant disregard of the directives in your Notice of Administrative Leave letter dated January 3, 2017 and alleged violations of the Macomb County Ethics Ordinance.”

Rather than respond, Bucci, who has not been charged with any crimes, resigned from that same month after working for the county since 1993. He remains a Macomb Township trustee.

Miller disclosed in May that county employees had appeared before a federal grand jury regarding their dealings with both Marrocco and Bucci – who is also accused in a federal civil lawsuit of allegedly trying to extort $76,000 from a contractor. Federal investigators also have been reviewing records from the office, presumably including the Miller letter to Bucci.

FBI agents are asking questions about Bucci, Marrocco and millions of dollars in payments to an unnamed county contractor, Miller said in May.

The letter from Miller includes allegations that during his time in the Public Works office, Bucci:

--Conducted township business on county time and required businessmen to report to the Public Works Commission office to pick up township permits.

--Told contractors that money owed by the county for services they would not get paid until they spoke to Marrocco directly and contributed to his fundraisers.

--Had Public Works employees, on county time and with county equipment, do various tasks for Bucci, his relatives and friends, including snow removal, lawn maintenance, landscaping and general labor projects – including moving a woman’s belongings from Ohio to Michigan.

--Authorized use of county cellphones for his family.

-- Conducted Macomb Township work on county time without using the “time off bank.”

--Violated a January notice of administrative leave by contacting Public Works employees and personally returning to county buildings

--Conducted Macomb Township work and fundraiser activities on county time and using county equipment

--Ordered a Public Works employees to obtain child size boots under a Uniform Allowance and then took the boots for his own child.

Through a spokesman, Miller said Wednesday she had no comment on Bucci or her letter.

Bucci, who has declined repeated interview requests this year, did not immediately return telephone calls or an email to The News.

Bucci is reportedly part of an ongoing federal investigation into Macomb County political corruption that has already led to charges against 14 people, including Clifford Freitas, who, like Bucci, was a Macomb Township trustee.

Freitas was charged with several counts of bribery and pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in June and is a federal witness.

Bucci is named in a federal civil lawsuit that accuses him of attempting to extort $76,000 from a contractor seeking a refund on a permit from Macomb Township. In a video deposition, Bucci denied the allegations and insisted he was offered a bribe by the contractor. That lawsuit is pending.

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