Macomb Township to be reimbursed $66,000

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 12, 2019

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Almost one year after a petition was submitted, Macomb Township received some welcomed news.

The township was notified May 31 that a petition for remission of $66,000, lost in relation to the alleged illegal actions of former Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci, was granted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“I’m very happy that we got the money back,” Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn said. “Mr. Esordi has been diligent in keeping in contact with this particular office to make sure they didn’t forget about us. All of his persistence paid off.”

The petition was submitted July 11, 2018, by Macomb Township General Counsel Tom Esordi, who said he’d been working on it for quite a while.

Dunn said Macomb Township has to complete administrative paperwork and submit it to the FBI prior to receiving the money.

The remission represents a full and complete repayment of lost funds.

“For us, it shows that when you do wrong, there are consequences,” Macomb Township Clerk Kristi Pozzi said. “We continue to fight for what was right and what was to be returned to our taxpayers and the township.”

Pozzi said one of the official reports from the Department of Justice indicated that Macomb Township was a victim of extortion and bribery.

“The $66,000 was wrongfully taken from the township,” she said. “It was our right to fight to have it returned, once it was returned to the FBI.”

The 18 criminal charges Bucci was indicted on in November 2017 allegedly took place over a nine-year period and included kickbacks, embezzlement and bribery in both his position as a trustee for Macomb Township and with the Macomb County Department of Public Works.

A 2017 press release from the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan states Bucci collected a kickback of $66,000 in cash in a bag at the headquarters of the Macomb County Department of Public Works.     

In the township, Bucci was accused of embezzling and conspiring to embezzle nearly $100,000 from Macomb Township in connection with contractor deals.

The money came from two parking lot repavement deals where Bucci allegedly orchestrated for Macomb County contractor Christopher Sorrentino to get overpaid for work another company did, and Bucci would get a kickback while promising Sorrentino future work in the township.

According to Sorrentino’s court documents and testimony, 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 then to pay him the kickback.

Sorrentino accepted a plea deal in October 2017, a month after he was charged with one count of structuring financial transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements, in relation to cash kickbacks that involved Bucci.

Bucci’s next court date is June 27 in Port Huron for a plea hearing.