Charles Rizzo gets 90 days in Macomb County corruption scandal

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
Rizzo, one of the region’s largest trash hauling companies, released a statement announcing founder Chuck Rizzo Jr. had resigned from the company effective immediately. Patrick Dovigi, president and CEO of GFL Environmental, Inc., said he will oversee operations in the interim.

The father of trash titan Chuck Rizzo was sentenced to 90 days behind bars Tuesday for his role in the Macomb County corruption scandal.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland sentenced Charles Rizzo, 71, of New Baltimore eight months after the businessman pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Besides the jail time, Rizzo was given two years of supervised release and fined $10,000. 

A second figure in the scandal, former Macomb County Public Works Department chief engineer James Pistilli, was sentenced to 90 days behind bars, fined $10,000 and given one year of supervised release for funneling bribes to a Washington Township official. 

According to a superseding information filed in federal court, Charles Rizzo was involved in a scheme in August 2015 in which the owner of a recycling company was instructed to overcharge Rizzo Environmental Services for the purchase of Dumpsters. The next month, the owner of the recycler sent checks by mail to a third party for the Dumpster purchases.

Rizzo’s son Chuck Rizzo, the former CEO of trash-hauling firm Rizzo Environmental Services, pleaded guilty Nov. 9.

Chuck Rizzo, his father, Detroit towing titan Gasper Fiore, Bloomfield Hills resident Derrick Hicks and others plotted to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Rizzo Environmental Services using a fake legal settlement agreement, fraudulent consulting deals, kickbacks, shell companies and stolen money to help pay for Chuck Rizzo’s mansion in Bloomfield Township, the government alleged.

Some of the stolen money bankrolled bribes for public officials to maintain and secure additional municipal garbage contracts, prosecutors say.

The scandal is focused on at least three fronts: Macomb County politicians pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Sterling Heights trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services, Fiore’s towing empire, and the Macomb County Public Works office.