As the U.S. Justice Department sorts through how to deal with more than a dozen corrupt officials in Macomb County, one particular elected official seems to have set a new standard for sleaziness.
Former Clinton Township board member Dean Reynolds (above), one of the first to be snagged by the FBI investigation for mafia-style bribes, has been exposed by faking a story that he is suffering from high-level cancer as he awaits sentencing.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Reynolds’ phony tales surfaced as he tried to secure a pre-sentencing release from jail on bond. The deception was so despicable that the defense attorney has asked to withdraw from the case. The prosecutors and Reynolds’ attorney seemed to be equally miffed by Reynolds’ fake-cancer story.
“There has been a breakdown in the attorney/client relationship to the extent that said relationship cannot continue,” Reynolds’ veteran attorney, Stephen Rabaut, wrote in a Friday filing in U.S. District Court. That bizarre court document, the Free Press reports, came after federal prosecutors revealed how Reynolds had lied about having cancer – and more.
After a jury convicted Reynolds, a Democrat, earlier this year on 14 bribery counts for his role in a widespread corruption scandal, the former elected official concocted a story that said he had Stage 3 kidney cancer. Adding to the phony sob story was a Reynolds’ assertion that he needed a release on bond so that he could be with his dying mother — he falsely claimed that she was in hospice.
Based on hundreds of Reynolds’ jailhouse phone calls monitored by the FBI, federal authorities presented evidence to the court that none of these stories were true.
At the same time, Macomb Township board member Dino Bucci, a Republican, one of the prime catches by the FBI corruption probe, has refused to resign and continues to collect his government salary and benefits though he has not attended a township board meeting since he was hit with 18 federal corruption indictments last November.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has declined to remove Bucci from office, based on the governor’s limited authority to do so, after the GOP-controlled township board urged Snyder to take action. At the same time, a grassroots recall campaign targeted at Bucci persists.
Many of the federal charges against Bucci, ranging over nine years of kickbacks, embezzlement and bribery, are not related to his township position but rather are linked to his role as the right-hand man to former Macomb County public works commissioner Tony Marrocco. A major force in Democratic county politics for nearly 25 years, Marrocco was booted by Macomb voters in 2016, but he has yet to be tied to the county’s widespread corruption scandal.