This is an excerpt of a column I wrote for Deadline Detroit.
By Chad Selweski
Dino Bucci, who’s in line to become the most infamous crooked politician in recent Macomb County history, depending on the outcome of the many criminal indictments he faces, is still hanging on to public office despite the best efforts by his constituents and colleagues to give him the boot.
Since he was hit with 18 criminal charges by the feds at the height of the Macomb County corruption scandal last year — indictments ranging from extortion and money laundering to bribery and embezzlement involving public contracts — Bucci was summarily ousted as the county’s deputy public works commissioner.
But he maintains his second government post as an elected member of the Macomb Township board.
Facing 30 years in prison if convicted, he has not shown up on the job at the township hall since last November, though he continues to collect a paycheck. His federal trial is set for Dec. 3.
To avoid a legal fight, Bucci was permitted to retire from his county job, allowing him to receive a pension and retiree medical benefits. From the township, he is collecting $9,000 a year in salary for his part-time position.
A former tuxedo salesman, Bucci served as the right-hand man for Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Tony Marrocco, who was known as the “godfather” of Macomb politics for a quarter century until voters ousted him two years ago.
Based on the FBI portrait of Bucci in the indictments filed in federal court, for more than two decades he never held a real job at Marrocco’s office, other than as the enforcer in what appeared to be a pay-to-play, Mafia-style operation within the bowels of Marrocco’s public works office from 1993 to 2016.
So far, Bucci frustrates the public by refusing to step down from his township post. Before going AWOL, he routinely faced angry crowds at board meetings demanding his resignation.
Macomb Township, an upscale, fast-growing suburb, can’t find a way to deal with all this.
Earier this year, township board members– all fellow Republicans – sent a written plea to Gov. Rick Snyder seeking gubernatorial action to remove the embattled trustee, but it produced no results. The board remains hopeful that the governor might intervene as a second letter was sent to Snyder last month. State law says that the governor can remove an elected official for official misconduct and willful neglect of duty.
Meanwhile, a grassroots recall drive aimed at removing Bucci this summer somehow fell far short of the required petition signatures. The recall campaign collected just 3,100 of the 6,900 petition signatures needed by the Aug. 3 deadline to earn a spot on the November ballot.
In addition, a lawsuit filed by a high-profile local attorney, Frank Cusumano, is pending.
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