Board says Macomb County commissioner violated ethics ordinance

Anthony Marrocco's filming of political campaign questioned

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – In the latest dust-up in a multi-millon dollar political showdown for Macomb County Public Works commissioner, the county's ethics board found Wednesday that commissioner Anthony Marrocco violated the ethics ordinance when he filmed a political campaign spot on county property.

Now Marrocco is calling this a political ploy by his opponent, Candice Miller.

What constitutes as "county owned"? The pump station in question has the county seal on it, which is right next to Marrocco's name in big red letters.

Marrocco didn't appear before the ethics board, but his campaign manager was there videotaping the proceedings. In an email to the board, Marrocco claims he and county employees in the commercial all took a vacation day and that he paid $500 to rent the facility for the day.

The facility is owned by the drainage district, not the county. So he claims there is no ethics violation.

But the deputy county executive said otherwise.

"We pay money out of the general fund for its maintenance, it's county property," said Macomb County Deputy Executive Mark Deldin.

Marrocco called the complaint a political smear by his Republican opponent, congresswoman Candice Miller.

Leon Drolet, a former Republican lawmaker and Miller supporter, brought the complaint. The ethics board's chair questioned whether it was being used for political grandstanding, but unanimously found Marrocco in violation.

The board fined Marrocco $125 because it's a first offense, but with other Macomb officials facing a wide-ranging corruption investigation, the true penalty is political. Public perception and voters will assess the true damage on Nov. 8.

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