Rizzo family takes plea deal in corruption case

Garbage collection tycoons have plea hearing

DETROIT – The father and son tandem of Chuck and Charles Rizzo are well-known names around Metro Detroit. 

They once owned the Rizzo Environmental Services company. The red garbage trucks could be spotted across the region. However, as quickly as their trash collection empire rose, it has fallen. 

The original indictment was 43 complicated pages laying out the case against the Rizzos. The very end came with more more simplicity: A single page with the Rizzos agreeing to appear in federal court Nov. 9 in Port Huron for a plea hearing. 

Chuck Rizzo, who is the son of Charles, started out helping federal investigators in their attempts to ferret out the widespread corruption they found in Macomb County. Chuck wore a wire and helped expose the payoffs of government officials in order to gain trash hauling contracts. Overall, 17 people were arrested as a result of Chuck Rizzo's cooperation. 

However, somewhere along the line Chuck Rizzo decided to stop helping with the investigation. That led the feds to point much of the investigation toward him and his father. 

Dean Reynolds, a Clinton Township trustee closest to Rizzo, was named in the federal indictment. The feds said Rizzo served as a bagman in paying bribe money to Reynolds from Boulevard and Trumbull Towing magnate Gasper Fiore in order for Fiore to get a township towing contract. 

The even bigger problem for Rizzo stems from the construction of his Bloomfield Hills mansion. He, along with his father Charles, allegedly used friends to steal money from Rizzo Environmental Services -- the other owner was a New York hedge fund. The feds said the Rizzos were using the stolen money to finance the mansion construction. 

Chuck Rizzo faces eight conspiracy and bribery counts and roughly half a dozen wire fraud charges. 

Meanwhile, it appears the heat is on Fiore. With the Rizzos striking a plea deal, they likely will testify at a trial. That trial may be Fiore's. 

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About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.