(WJBK) - The former CEO of garbage company Rizzo Environmental Services was indicted Wednesday on bribery charges.
Charles B. "Chuck" Rizzo of Bloomfield Hills, 46, was indicted on five counts of bribery and three counts of conspiracy to commit bribery.'
Rizzo stepped down in October 2016, the same day Macomb Township trustee Clifford Freitas was charged with demanding and taking bribes from Rizzo in exchange for securing their waste disposal contract with Macomb Township.
Freitas is accused of accepting almost $45,000 in bribes, much of it caught on tapped phone lines and video.
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Charged alongside Rizzo is towing company owner Gasper Fiore. Investigators allege the 56-year-old from Grosse Pointe Shores bribed former Clinton Township trustee Dean Reynolds to secure a towing contract with the city -- first $4,000 in March 2016, then $3,000 in May 2016. The bribes were paid to Reynolds by Fiore through Rizzo, the United States Attorney's Office says.
Rizzo is also charged with twelve counts of mail and wire fraud.
Former Rizzo employee Quintin Ramanauskas of Shelby Township, 53, was indicted by the FBI on May 23. Investigators say they believe he was the "bag man" who delivered bribes to local officials in exchange for contracts.
He became the 6th person facing federal charges in connection with allegedly paying off elected officials to keep Rizzo operating in Macomb County communities.
Court documents say Ramanauskas paid a $3,000 bride to Reynolds and thousands more to former Chesterfield township supervisor Michael Lovelock.
An owner of a competing company, Dominik Tringali Sanitation, told Fox 2 in October 2016 that he wasn't surprised Rizzo employees were facing bribery charges.
He said because of Rizzo, the chance to bid on jobs just isn't there. He lost clients in Grosse Pointe, Harrison Township, and Harper Woods.
"They say 'Well Dominic they are $300,000 dollars cheaper, what do you expect us to do? We have to give them the job,'" he said.
Tringali also said Rizzo employees often ask his employees to work for Rizzo.
The company, Rizzo waste disposal, has now become GFL waste collection.
Officials with the company have previously stated to Fox 2 that they had no idea this was allegedly happening when they acquired Rizzo and have a zero tolerance policy towards this behavior.
GFL Environmental Inc. President and CEO Patrick Dovigi announced Rizzo's resignation in this statement:
"The allegations surrounding Rizzo Environmental's potential involvement in the FBI's investigation were first brought to our attention following local press reports which speculated that a principal at Rizzo had made cash payments to Dean Reynolds in connection with a Clinton Township contract. These allegations, which reportedly occurred in late 2012 through 2015, predate GFL's acquisition of Rizzo last month. We had no prior knowledge of the FBI's investigation or the allegations associated with elected officials in Macomb County, Michigan. Upon learning of the situation, we immediately began the process of conducting our own internal investigation to better understand the facts. While our review is ongoing, the allegations that have been presented in two Federal criminal complaints are completely counter to the way we that GFL does business. Adhering to the highest ethical policies and conducting our business with the utmost integrity are among GFL's most important priorities. We are outraged by the allegations that have been reported and have zero tolerance for employee misconduct or unprofessional behavior. Therefore, in the best interests of the company and our customers, Chuck Rizzo, Jr. has resigned, effective immediately. I will oversee Rizzo's business on an interim basis until further notice. We are committed to providing the highest quality waste collection and recycling services to commercial, municipal and industrial customers while following only the highest legal and ethical standards."
"They'd say 'Hey, come work for us. We're going to give you more money, work for us,'" he said.