Former Macomb County official says he witnessed corruption

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A former top Macomb County Public Works official says politics was often more important than the people's business.

For seven years Gene Schabath was in prime position to watch the inner-workings of the public works department and you might not like what he has to say.

Last week a federal grand jury accused Dino Bucci of, among other things, using Macomb County Public Works employees as personal servants.

That was old news to Schabath, who says he watched Bucci and then-public works commissioner Anthony Marrocco serve themselves instead of the public.
Schabath says public works employees did personal and political work for Marrocco and Bucci, who was one of Marrocco's top aides.

"Bucci was a different animal, you know, he's supposed to be doing the people's job, but it was all Marrocco, for Marrocco," Schabath said. "I mean, everything."

Schabath was a top newspaper man in Macomb County before retiring in 2005.  Marrocco hired him in 2005. Schabath was one of Marrocco's deputies until Marrocco got rid of him in 2013.

He says the political work ranged from campaigning and putting up lawn signs to raising money for Marrocco - and he says Bucci was a top fundraiser.

"It's political work. he's getting, the county's paying him for doing Marrocco's work," Schabath said. "He's out there hawking tickets."

The tickets Schabath is referring to are tickets to political fundraisers.  In addition to his campaign account, Marrocco had one of the wealthiest political action committees in Michigan.

And many of those tickets were sold to contractors doing work for the public works commission.

FOX 2: "Do people want to buy them?"
Schabath: "They have no choice."
FOX 2: "How come?"
Schabath: "Because if you don't, you don't get - you've got to pay to play. Pay to play."

Schabath says he went to the FBI several years ago, turning over stacks of paperwork that he believes is proof of wrongdoing. 

Marrocco was defeated in his bid for re-election last year, and even though it's been a year since the feds brought their first public corruption charges in Macomb County, Schabath says he thinks they're just scratching the surface of what went on in the public works department.

FOX 2: "Why do you think you were let go?"
Schabath: "Because I knew too much."

FOX 2 reached out to Bucci and Marrocco for comment but Bucci's attorney did not return messages and no one knows how to find Marrocco these days.