A dead dog wrapped in a blanket is seen in a hole left by demolition company on Auburn Street between Belton and Constance Street in Detroit, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press)
Bid manipulation announcements and bribes totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars are among the federal criminal charges on Monday against two former employees of a prominent company in the Detroit demolition program.
The indictment is the first to come from a long-standing federal probe from Detroit & # 39; s scrapping program that has taken on many facets since it was first launched in 2015.
The two men who were charged, Aradondo Haskins and Anthony Daguanno, were former Adamo Group estimators, according to the loading documents. Haskins also worked for the city of Detroit at one point.
Daguanno was a senior estimator for Adamo, who worked for the company from January. 2013 to January 2019. Daguanno was responsible for recruiting tenders from subcontractors, compiling bid packages in response to a request for proposals and communicating with subcontractors.
More: Congress leaders argue for more supervision of the Detroit demolition program
An unknown contractor referred to only in the loading documents, such as & # 39; Contractor A & # 39; Daguanno paid money for disclosing confidential information about bids from its competitors. In total, he received more than $ 372,000 in bribes.
Daguanno was paid on at least 71 occasions over a period of eight years in various ways, including interstate wire communication, according to the documents.
Haskins, who was in service from about January 2013 to April 2015, was given the task of putting together prayer packages based on requests for proposals from the city of Detroit.
"In return for these payments, Haskins revealed confidential information about the lowest competitor's bid that allowed Contractor A to make an even lower bid, giving Contractor A lucrative contracts," said the charge.
Haskins was paid at least eight times while working at Adamo. Haskins later worked for the City Building Authority in April 2015 as field operations manager. The scrapping program is jointly managed by the DBA and the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
He used his "position to influence the bidding process of the scrapping contract" according to the documents and used his authority to influence contracts awarded to contractor A.
"Mr. Haskins was canceled by the DBA three years ago," said DBA director Tyrone Clifton. "The DBA expects all its employees to adhere to the highest ethical standards. Anyone who has committed an illegal activity in any aspect of the demolition prgoram must be held accountable and we will continue to cooperate fully."
The federal probe has been shrouded in mystery for a long time, because it was reported that the scrap prices had risen by as much as 60% under Duggan's administration. The city's demolition program is managed by the Detroit Land Bank Authority and the Detroit Building Authority under a structure that mayor Mike Duggan established after he was elected in 2014.
More than $ 250 million from the Hardest Hit Fund has been allocated to Detroit for its demolition program since Duggan began his aggressive attempt to tackle the disease in the city. MHA said it has spent more than $ 176 million in federal funds to demolish 10,755 homes. Detroit has the largest demolition program of its kind in the United States.
The Free Press previously reported that suspicions of bid manipulation arose in the summer of 2016 during a forensic audit of the demolition program conducted by two companies hired by the state – Holland & Knight and Ernst & Young. A state official said later in 2017 that it & # 39; no manipulation of bids & # 39; has seen. The suspicions coincided with a three-month suspension of the city's demolition program imposed by the American Treasury.
The investigation of waste consumption and invoicing is the newest layer of the current SIGTARP and previously reported FBI investigation.
A Free Press investigation in February revealed that federal authorities were polling whether contaminated debris might have been used to fill locations in Detroit.
Congress women Brenda Lawrence and Rashida Tlaib called together to pay more attention to the remediation efforts in Michigan, including Detroit, following the newspaper investigation.
"We look forward to working with you at the federal level to ensure that all MIchiganders know whether the land used to fill the demolition holes represents a public health problem," Lawrence and Tlaib wrote.
The federal government is also investigating whether some companies have used free waste obtained from a variety of unverified sources and then passed it on as an approved household waste source before the demolition program is invoiced for materials they have never purchased.
Following the Free Press investigation, city councilor Pro Tem Mary Sheffield argued for congress hearings on the federally subsidized demolition program of the city. State representative LaTanya Garrett also asked for state-level hearings.
Federal agents are now also investigating who was involved in an alleged settlement whereby a Chicago-based company tore homes in Detroit and hid the debris in layers of dirt. McDonagh Demolition claims that the persons involved "acted on their own, without the knowledge, consent or consent" of the ownership or management of the company.
Kat Stafford writes entrepreneurial and investigative stories about Detroit. Contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-223-4759. To read previous coverage of the demolition program, go to www.freep.com/news/investigations/
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