Chuck Rizzo pleads not guilty in Macomb County corruption case

Rizzo at center of dozens of counts of corruption and fraud

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – The Macomb County corruption case is moving along in Detroit federal court, as the central figure took his turn Wednesday before a judge.

Charles B. Rizzo is the man at the center of dozens of counts of corruption and fraud involving Macomb County politicians. On Wednesday, he set the wheels in motion for his possible trial.

Rizzo owned Rizzo Environmental Services, the well-known trash hauler, with his father and a hedge fund up until last year.

Rizzo is charged along with Detroit towing magnate Gasper Fiore and Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds in a massive bribery and fraud scheme. He showed up in court for his arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the numerous felonies.

Federal officials dropped the indictment at the end of May to link the three men. During Reynolds' original indictment in October, there was a line stating they were using a confidential human source from a company who wore a wire to ferret out Reynolds' alleged bribery.

It's now clear it was Rizzo wearing the wire, and he stopped cooperating with the federal officials, which is what put him before a magistrate.

Officials said Rizzo served as bagman in paying bribe money to Reynolds from Fiore in order for Fiore to get a township towing contract. But the bigger problem for Rizzo stems from the construction of a Bloomfield Hills mansion. He and his father allegedly used friends to steal money from Rizzo Environmental Services as a way to finance the mansion.

In all, Rizzo faces eight conspiracy and bribery counts and roughly half a dozen wire fraud charges. The judge ordered a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Neither Rizzo nor his lawyer were available to speak after court.

About the Authors: