A Royal Oak Township official pleaded guilty in federal court today to pocketing a $10,000 bribe in exchange for a political favor involving a demolition contract.
William Morgan, the supervisor of Royal Oak Township, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow.
During his plea hearing, Morgan admitted that he accepted a $10,000 bribe from a company that unsuccessfully tried to win a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contract involving an asbestos abatement project.
Morgan 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.
Morgan and others, authorities said, were trying to obtain $170,000 in federal funds, which were intended to be used by communities to improve blighted areas by removing dilapidated buildings.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said.
Added Randall Ashe, special agent in charge of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Criminal Investigation Division:
“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?'”
Morgan faces up to five years in prison on each conspiracy count, and a $250,000 fine.
He will be sentenced Aug. 2.