2 ex-Adamo Group employees plead guilty in Detroit demolition probe
DETROIT (FOX 2) - After years of speculation about whether Detroit's demolition program was under investigation, the feds finally filed criminal charges.
On Tuesday, two workers pleaded guilty to breaking the law by helping a contractor with inside information. Two former Adamo demolition employees admitted to illegally sharing bid information to help a sub-contractor to get a piece of Detroit's lucrative demolition action.
Although the two are considered "small fries" it was curious to see so many prosecutors from federal agencies in Detroit and Washington on hand to hear the two sing.
ML Elrick: "Is this a case of public corruption?
Federal defender Richard Helfrick: "You know, it's kind of, it's not, he's charged with depriving his employer of his honest services. So it really doesn't, the charges he's pled to doesn't have really anything to do with public corruption."
The "he" is Anthony Daguanno. Cameras aren't allowed in federal court, so we can't show you Daguanno telling a judge he slipped bid information to a company to help it get demolition contracts.
Daguanno and Aradondo Haskins, who were seen entering the courthouse, both pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to help rig demolition contracts that were part of the city of Detroit's $259 million demolition program.
Daguanno's attorney says it's clear the feds are interested in more than his client.
"He's a small fish in a big pond," Helfrick said. "But I don't know where their investigation is, where it's going, what the results are going to be."
Daguanno and Aradondo both worked for The Adamo Group, a major demolition company.
Aradondo also testified that he took bribes while working for a city agency overseeing Detroit's demolition program. Helfrick says prosecutors have provided no clues to who else might be involved in crooked schemes to tap the city's demolition funds.
"They've played it very close to the vest as to what they are doing," Helfrick said.
In fact, federal prosecutors had more to say about what they do not plan to do next, saying in a press release: "the government, as of today's date, does not anticipate charging any additional public officials."
It may not be clear who is in the federal investigators' crosshairs, but Helfrick -- who has a wealth of experience in federal court -- says he suspects there's more to come.
"When you go to a meeting with them, there's like, you know, half a dozen lawyers sitting there from the government, all different agencies," he said. "So something's going on."
The feds did not accuse Adamo demolition of wrongdoing but Haskins told the judge Richard Adamo told him to share the bid information with another company trying to rig bids. FOX 2 called Adamo's company for comment, but have not heard back.
WEB UPDATE: Adamo attorney Matthew Borgula sent the following statement:
"During today’s plea hearing of Mr. Haskins, it has been reported that he said that 'Richard Adamo asked me to send him price sheets from another contractor.’ It is unclear what Mr. Haskins meant by this statement. Mr. Adamo denies that he was complicit in a crime to deprive his own company of honest services or was otherwise involved in any misconduct. As stated in the indictment which is the product of a lengthy federal investigation, Mr. Haskins deprived Adamo of honest services and took bribes without the the knowledge of Adamo and its principals. Mr. Adamo and the other principals at the Adamo Group were, in fact, unaware of the bribe and kickback schemes executed by Mr. Haskins and Mr. DaGuanno.”