Anthony Marrocco, the former Macomb County Department of Public Works Commissioner, has been indicted on several charges including corruption and extortion.
Marrocco is accused of extorting money from developers and contractors and cutting off work with those who didn't comply.
Marrocco was Macomb County public works commissioner for more than 20 years and lost re-election in 2016. Marrocco is charged with conspiracy, extortion, and attempted extortion.
The indictment describes developers and contractors being shaken down by Marrocco or his allies. The grand jury says the message was clear: Pay up or face "adverse economic consequences."
According to the U.S. Attorney, the 71-year-old Ray Township resident directed Department of Public Works employees to pressure builders and contractors in Macomb County to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets to Marrocco's twice-yearly fundraisers.
He allegedly kept lists of those who purchased the tickets and those who did not and would inflict economic punishment on those who did not by holding up permits for builders, delaying payments owed to DPW vendors, and refusing to award DPW contracts to engineering firms, among other punishments.
Additionally, the indictment claims builders and contractors bought thousands of dollars in tickets because they feared that Marrocco would economically punish them.
He allegedly used the money to pay for personal expenses, including air travel, car rentals, dinners at high-end restaurants, condo association charges, spa visits, wedding and holiday gifts, and yacht club charges.
Marrocco's arrest comes after 6 years of investigation and is part of a larger effort to investigate corruption in Macomb County. So far, 22 public officials and businessmen have been charged and convicted of corruption in Macomb County.
Marrocco could get up to 20 years in prison if convicted.