Macomb Twp. trustee charged with demanding, taking bribes for votes

- The FBI has arrested an elected Macomb Township trustee for allegedly demanding and taking bribes in exchange for his vote and official assistance on a municipal contract.

Clifford Freitas, 43, of Macomb Township has been charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, including demanding and accepting money in exchange for official acts as a Trustee, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade's office says.

Her office says Freitas' arrest is part of a long investigation into corruption in multiple cities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County. She says the investigation is still ongoing.

The complaint charges that Freitas demanded and accepted money from a municipal vendor in exchange for using his official position as a Trustee to get the vendor a municipal contract and to secure favorable terms for the company.

In July 2015, Macomb Township put out a request for proposal for a municipal contract. Soon thereafter, Freitas approached a representative of a prospective vendor, and Freitas demanded money in return for Freitas' support as a Trustee.

Freitas agreed to accept $7,500 from the vendor in return for his assistance in getting the contract.

Through his position as a Trustee, Freitas obtained sensitive bid information on the municipal contract in order to help the vendor, telling the vendor what bid was needed to beat out competing contractors.

After the vendor was awarded the contract by Macomb Township, Freitas demanded an additional $35,000 from the company representative for his additional assistance as a public official relating to the contract.

In May 2016, Freitas accepted $2,000 in cash from an undercover agent of the FBI, with the payment being video recorded.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates. 

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