Feds indict Rizzo lawyer in widening Macomb bribery scandal
Detroit — Federal prosecutors Tuesday indicted a lawyer accused of teaming with trash titan Chuck Rizzo to bribe a Macomb County politician.
Jay Schwartz, 53, of Northville, served as Rizzo's business lawyer and allegedly bribed convicted Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds with cash and free legal services and helped conceal the bribes, according to a three-count indictment unsealed Tuesday. The bribery conspiracy ran from 2014 to 2016 when Rizzo was trying to secure and maintain an $18 million trash-hauling contract in Clinton Township, according to the government.
The indictment charges Schwartz with bribery conspiracy and bribery. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison.
Schwartz was released Tuesday on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
"There is a lot more to this case than what is alleged in the indictment," Schwartz's lawyer Gerald Gleeson wrote in an email to The Detroit News. "We look forward to the opportunity to present all of the facts to a jury.”
The indictment ties up a loose thread from an ongoing crackdown on public corruption in Macomb County by unmasking Schwartz as "Attorney A," who was referenced in the Reynolds criminal case in 2016. The public corruption crackdown had led to the convictions of 22 contractors and public officials, including Reynolds, Rizzo and towing mogul Gasper Fiore.
The investigation is ongoing and targeting former Macomb County Public Works Director Anthony Marrocco. His former deputy, ex-Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci, is cooperating with the investigation.
The indictment was unsealed six months after Reynolds was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for running four bribery schemes, the stiffest penalty delivered during a years-long crackdown on public corruption in Macomb County.
Reynolds trial testimony focused on Schwartz and his Farmington Hills law firm. Schwartz and associate Carmen Moyer represented Reynolds during his divorce and provided as much as $56,000 worth of free legal help, FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman testified.
The conspiracy described by prosecutors includes key figures convicted in a years-long crackdown of public corruption in Macomb County. That includes Rizzo, who is serving a 66-month federal prison sentence for bribery and fraud, the trash mogul's bag man Quintin Ramanauskas, who cooperated with investigators, and Reynolds' best friend, Angelo Selva.
An FBI wiretap recorded Reynolds and Selva talking in July 2015. The duo discussed Rizzo and Schwartz providing Reynolds with free legal services in exchange for help with the Clinton Township garbage contract, according to the indictment.
One month later, FBI agents were listening to a wiretap of Rizzo's phone.
During one call, Schwartz told the trash mogul that Rizzo needed to provide $5,000 to pay for expenses related to Reynolds' divorce, according to the indictment. Schwartz suggested the payment be disguised as a third-party loan, prosecutors allege.
In September 2015, Schwartz sent a blank promissory note to Reynolds that was used to conceal bribe payments from Rizzo, according to the government.
Two months later, Reynolds allegedly received a $3,000 cash bribe from the trash mogul.
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