The federal government has dropped its biggest, highest-profile indictment yet in the sprawling Macomb County corruption investigation.
Dino Bucci, 58, was a Macomb Township trustee for 16 years until this past December. He was also a manager with the county’s Department of Public Works, and well-known as longtime former Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco’s close associate.
Bucci was forced out after former Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller unseated Marrocco last November.
Now, he also faces 18 counts of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and other crimes for allegedly using his offices to run corrupt “pay-to-play” schemes.
Bucci used his offices to “corruptly solicit and demand … tens of thousands of dollars in cash, hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal checks, tickets to fundraising events, tickets to golf outings, and gift cards” for himself and others from firms doing business with the township and county, according to the government.
The indictment lays out a series of corrupt deals Bucci allegedly made starting in 2008.
He’s accused of taking cash and other bribes from engineering firms and developers looking to get or maintain favorable contracts, or other deals with Macomb Township or the county.
Bucci also allegedly inflated invoices for routine municipal expenses, billing the local government for more than projects or repairs actually cost, and pocketing the difference with a kickback to the contractor.
The indictment lays out several such deals, including a 2014 instance where Bucci,working with construction contractor Christopher Sorrentino, arranged a repaving contract for the Macomb Township Hall parking lot. They negotiated a $181,000 price for the job, but the township paid $257,800 on the contract. Bucci later got $66,000 in alleged kickbacks.
The indictment also accuses Bucci of using paid county employees to plow snow at his and others’ driveways, and to “perform routine maintenance” such as yardwork and moving lawn furniture at his home.
Bucci is the 18th person charged so far as part of the FBI’s sprawling investigation into Detroit-area corruption. It’s mostly centered on Macomb County public officials and companies, but has extended to include the city of Detroit, its main towing contractor, and a former high-ranking police official too.
Bucci potentially faces decades in prison if he doesn’t cut a plea deal with the government. Eleven people have already pleaded guilty in Macomb County corruption cases stemming from the ongoing investigation.
“The crimes as alleged in today’s indictment highlight a pervasive pattern of past corrupt and illegal practices in Macomb County," David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit division, said in a statement today.
“As such, the FBI and the IRS will continue in the foreseeable future to dedicate investigative resources in Macomb County and elsewhere until the public’s trust in elected officials is bolstered, and honest and responsible government is the order of the day.”