Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller has requested a corruption investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office with regard to several contracts awarded by public works prior to Miller taking over as commissioner.
At issue are contracts worth more than $500,000 that were granted from 2011-14 when Tony Marrocco served as public works commissioner. Those contracts are tied to an engineering firm that was embroiled in the Macomb County public corruption scandal, which was sparked by a widespread FBI investigation. That firm’s actions have been associated with three convictions related to bribery schemes.
Here is the press release Miller sent out this morning:
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller is requesting the Michigan Attorney General investigate more than a half million dollars worth of contracts awarded by the MCPWO (Macomb County Public Works Office) in 2011 through 2014. The contracts all involved the Giffels Webster engineering firm and one or more individuals who have since pleaded guilty or were otherwise involved in the ongoing public corruption scandal in and around Macomb County.
Miller stressed that while projects were in fact completed under the contracts, given recent court testimony and convictions, it would be irresponsible not to have the Attorney General scrutinize the contracts to ensure that no public monies were misdirected. Current executives of Giffels Webster recently approached Miller and highlighted concerns about the billings of Giffels Webster to the MCPWO during the tenure of Paulin Modi, a former Giffels Webster engineer who oversaw the projects. Modi has since pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced for his role in the public corruption scandal.
In 2011-14, state grants and a state loan funded the majority of several projects administered by MCPWO and awarded to Giffels Webster. In the MCPWO contracts in question, Giffels Webster utilized a private company owned by Carlo Santia as a subcontractor. Santia recently testified in court that this same private company intentionally overcharged Giffels Webster in order to secure funds Santia then used to reimburse Modi for bribes paid to Dean Reynolds, who was then an elected trustee in Clinton Township.
Three of the five MCPWO contracts in question were executed during the time that Jim Pistilli was the chief engineer at MCPWO. Pistilli left the MCPWO in June 2012 and joined Giffels Webster in October 2012. Pistilli also recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced for his role in the corruption scandal.
In question are five different projects, all related to inspections and improvements conducted on MCPWO assets. The projects involved $386,234 in state SAW (Storm water, Asset management & Wastewater) grants, a $43,802 state loan made to the MCPWO and $87,080 in funds from MCPWO itself – all public monies. Given that the majority of the money in question came from state sources, Miller asked the state Attorney General for the review.
In total, more than $517,000 was paid by MCPWO to Giffels Webster over the five contracts now under scrutiny.
“All of this raises questions that can only be answered by an investigation and I am asking the Attorney General to do just that,” Miller said.
Miller made initial contact with (Attorney General Bill Schuette) on July 30 and her office is in the process of providing financial documents on the contracts in question to the Attorney General’s Office.