DETROIT (WJBK) - The former head of Rizzo trash services has pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption charges and, while he gets to keep his huge mansion in Oakland County, he has to forfeit $4 million as part of his deal.
Chuck Rizzo reached a deal last month with federal prosecutors in the ongoing Macomb County corruption case. Rizzo is a key figure in the feds' investigation into public corruption in Macomb County. He was caught on a wiretap and the FBI turned him into a cooperating witness. He helped the FBI nail several public officials who were accepting cash in return for their support of municipal contracts with Rizzo Environmental Services.
Among the charges in that indictment is that Chuck Rizzo, Jr. used some of the money he made on government contracts to help pay for a $2.5 million mansion in Oakland County.
After pleading guilty and agreeing to work with the prosecution, both sides agreed that he can keep his big beautiful home in Oakland County even though the government says it was funded with ill-gotten gains.
He worked with the feds to arrest more than a dozen elected officials and businessmen.
Rizzo stepped down in October 2016, the same day Macomb Township trustee Clifford Freitas was charged with demanding and taking bribes from Rizzo in exchange for securing their waste disposal contract with Macomb Township.
Wayne State University law school professor and former federal prosecutor Peter Henning said that, even though he finally made up his mind, it cost him.
"They will note his cooperation, but they will also note he forced the government to indict him. That doesn't put him in as strong a position to beg for mercy from the judge," Henning said.
Rizzo was ordered to turn over more than $4 million he had in seven different bank accounts. If he can't turn over $4 million, the feds could still come after that mansion.
Rizzo will be sentenced later this month for his guilty plea.