- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - A part-time public official in suburban Detroit shared bid information with his private employer in exchange for cash, the FBI said Tuesday as authorities filed a second corruption case related to local government in Macomb County.

Clifford Freitas, a trustee in Macomb Township, was arrested on a bribery charge. The FBI said in a court filing that he was caught on a recorded phone call telling an informant, “Your guys are gonna get a phone call from the attorney to negotiate prices tomorrow. … There’s no way anyone can beat us.”

Freitas’ employer wasn’t identified in the court filing. But his LinkedIn profile says that he worked for Rizzo Environmental Services, a trash hauler, until this month.

Freitas and his attorney declined to comment after a brief appearance in Detroit federal court. A township trustee is similar to a member of a city council.

Freitas received $7,500, which was disguised by his employer as a loan, according to the FBI. He’s also accused of demanding $35,000 more.

“This is an extensive investigation into systemic corruption in multiple municipalities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County. … The payment and receipt of bribes have been captured on videotape on multiple occasions,” agent Kelli Hodges said in a court filing.

About two weeks ago, Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds was charged with taking bribes from a company that was awarded an $18 million contract. Rizzo wasn’t named, but it’s the only company with a contract that large.

The trash hauler was recently acquired by GFL Environmental Inc., which said it had no prior knowledge of the FBI probe. GFL announced the resignation of Rizzo executive Chuck Rizzo Jr. and said the red trucks would be painted green. The Rizzo name will be dropped from the fleet.


Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwhiteap

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