Taylor mayor Rick Sollars indicted on federal bribery, wire fraud charges

After an ongoing probe into corruption at Taylor City Hall, the mayor has been indicted on federal bribery charges. 

Rick Sollars is facing several charges of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, related to the city's Right of First Refusal program, as well as wire fraud. 

A photo of Taylor mayor, Rick Sollars.

Two others were also named in the indictment, Shady Awad and Jeffrey Baum. 

Awad is a businessman who owns a property development company called Realty Transition, LLC. Baum served as the manager of Taylor's Community Development Program. In that capacity, he managed the Right of First Refusal program as well as served as treasurer of Sollars' campaign fund. 

The indictment states Sollars and Baum conspired for Awad's real estate property to develop a "vast majority" of the tax-foreclosed properties in the ROFR program. 

In exchange, Sollars got free renovations at his house and his lake house as well as appliances, and occasional cash kickbacks for both Sollars and Baum. Multiple projects at Sollars' properties were also allegedly billed to properties Awad owned through the ROFR program. 

It's also alleged Baum would dismiss tickets charging civil infractions that had been issued against Awad's company. 

In 2015, Realty Transition was awarded all 95 of Taylor's tax-foreclosed properties; in 2016 29 of 24 properties; in 2017 38 of 45 properties; and in 2018 the entire property inventory, totaling 37 properties. 

Sollars and Baum are due in court later Thursday afternoon. 

As part of the ongoing investigation, FBI agents raided Sollars' home in March, seizing $200,000 in cash. They have also raided offices at Taylor City Hall and other locations.