Letter sent to Gov. Snyder asking for Bucci’s removal

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published January 31, 2018

 The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved Supervisor Janet Dunn sending a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to remove Dino Bucci as an elected trustee.

The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved Supervisor Janet Dunn sending a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to remove Dino Bucci as an elected trustee.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn has written a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, asking him to remove Trustee Dino Bucci from his elected position.

Trustee Tim Bussineau made the motion for Dunn to write the letter at the Jan. 24 meeting and Dunn sent the letter the next day. The motion was made in response to an 18-count federal indictment against Bucci last year that alleges embezzlement and bribery.

Bussineau said the motion was made not only because of the indictment, but also the fact that Bucci has not attended a meeting since the indictment was filed in early November. In the letter, Dunn said Bucci has continued to get paid his salary as a trustee.

At the Nov. 20 Board of Trustees meeting, only a few days after the indictments came out, the board approved Dunn writing a letter to Bucci asking him to resign from his position on the Zoning Board of Appeals. In her letter to Snyder, Dunn said Bucci never responded to the letter that she sent on Nov. 21.

Macomb Township Attorney Thomas Esordi said after the indictment that Michigan Election Law dictates that only the governor can remove an elected township officer when they are satisfied with evidence submitted that the officer is guilty of official misconduct, among other reasons.

The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act allows members of the ZBA to be removed by the legislative body for misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance. Along with the letter to Snyder, Dunn also attached the letter to Bucci asking him to resign from the ZBA, as well as the 28-page indictment.

The motion by Bussineau was approved and residents applauded the act after. Bussineau said the Detroit City Council did something similar when charges were filed against former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and Macomb Township owed it to residents to make some effort in righting the wrong.

“The letter may be highly symbolic,” Bussineau said. “I think our residents deserve this, deserve this voice, and let’s put it in the lap of the governor for what he wants to do for the residents of Macomb Township.”

The 18 criminal charges Bucci was indicted on allegedly took place over a nine-year period and included kickbacks, embezzlement and bribery in both his position as trustee for Macomb Township and with the Macomb County Department of Public Works.

In the township, several of the charges are tied to embezzling and conspiring to embezzle nearly $100,00 from Macomb Township in connection with contractor Christopher Sorrentino. Sorrentino, of Macomb Township, accepted a plea deal in October in admitting to paying around $96,000 in kickbacks to Bucci.

In 2014, Sorrentino’s business was paid for work repaving the Macomb Township Hall parking lot that another company did. Bucci allegedly directed Sorrentino to pay the company that did the work for a lower bid, and to pay him a kickback in the amount of $66,000.

The same circumstances arose in 2015 for the Macomb Township Fire Department parking lot, with Bucci getting at least $30,000 in kickbacks, according to the indictment.

Bucci is also accused of using county-paid officials for personal tasks, such as to plow his, his relatives’ and his friends’ driveways before county-owned property. He also allegedly used those employees to place campaign signs and move an associate’s girlfriend to Ohio.

Federal prosecutors plan to use hundreds of wiretapped calls and video recordings of bribe payments as evidence against Bucci, according to a discovery notice filed Dec. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.