Supervisor of Royal Oak Township Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Accept Bribes, to Defraud HUD, and to File False Statements with EPA
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 26, 2012|
The supervisor of Royal Oak Township, William Morgan, pleaded guilty today in federal court to two counts of conspiracy. Morgan admitted to conspiring to accept a $10,000 bribe, to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and to make a false statement in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.
In pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow, Morgan admitted accepting a $10,000 bribe in an unsuccessful attempt to steer a HUD contract for the demolition of property to the company whose owner gave him the bribe. Morgan also admitted that he conspired with the owner of that company and others to submit a false report regarding the asbestos to be abated in an abandoned theater on Eight Mile Road, which was to be demolished, so that they could submit a false change order to obtain approximately $170,000 in federal funds.
The federal funds were intended to be used by communities for the improvement of blighted areas by removal of dilapidated buildings, pursuant to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Morgan, in addition to being township supervisor, was the township coordinator for NSP.
United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said, “The conduct in this case not only breached the public trust, but it also risked public health by evading the rules for removing asbestos safely.”
Andrew Arena, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation said, “This guilty plea should serve as a strong reminder to anyone in public government that corruption will never go unpunished. Those who strive to profit personally by taking bribes will have to face severe consequences for violating public trust.”
Breck J. Nowlin, Deputy Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, said, “Public corruption at any level strikes at the very heart of representative government. In this case, the very individuals in whom the people have placed their full faith and confidence have squandered that faith in order to personally profit from the programs they are charged to administer. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement colleagues to root out this type of corruption and to protect these valued programs.”
“Asbestos can cause cancer and other fatal diseases and has no safe exposure level. That’s why the main question that a public official should ask himself when awarding an asbestos abatement contract is, ‘Who can best do the job competently, safely, and cost-effectively?’ ” said Randall Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division.
The conspiracy counts both have a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Morgan’s sentencing is scheduled for August 2, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI, HUD-Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Environmental Division-Criminal Investigation Division.