Royal Oak Township supervisor faces new federal conspiracy charges

Less than two months after he was indicted on three counts of bribery, new charges were announced this week against the supervisor of Royal Oak Township.

Supervisor William Morgan was charged with conspiracy in a new indictment, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Morgan was indicted on federal bribery charges Aug. 29, accused of taking a $10,000 bribe to help a company try to win a demolition contract involving the vacant Duke Theatre building on 8 Mile. The new charge names Morgan and Kendrick Covington, a contractor, as co-defendants in a conspiracy with each other and “various other persons” as having defrauded HUD with a phony claim for asbestos abatement in the theater building.

The previous indictment accuses Morgan, 67, of taking $10,000 to steer a demolition contract to Sureguard/PBM, then soliciting and getting payoffs of $500 and $1,000 from the successful bidder chosen by other township trustees.

Morgan said today he would not step down from his elected position because “I’m innocent until proven guilty.” He said he’s under pressure from the township’s four other elected trustees to resign, but that “people are incorrect in their accusations.”

Morgan said he continues to work more than the supervisor’s required 20-hour week for $12,000 a year in the township of 2,419 residents, according to the 2010 census. Royal Oak Township adjoins 8 Mile Road just west of Ferndale.

“A lot of people thought I was turning this township around, especially our seniors,” Morgan said today. “I’m trying to take down all the blight,” he said. Morgan said he barely knew his co-defendant, Kendrick Covington.

Treasurer Cynthia Phillips said the indictments are “a black mark but we’re going to keep on going.” Phillips said today that Morgan had worked only “about 10 or 20 or 30 minutes” daily since the first set of charges were announced in August. She and other trustees would like Morgan to resign, she said.

The indictments allege that, at the township’s Sept. 22, 2009, board meeting, Morgan “argued that the contract should be given to Sureguard/PBM, even though its bid was higher” that that of another company; and it further alleges that in early November, Morgan refused to sign the demolition contract with the low bidder, after having received a wire transfer of $10,000 in August 2009 from the owner of Sureguard/PBM.

via Freep


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