'Greedy' Former Garbage King Paid $206,000 in Bribes to Macomb County Officials

April 17, 2018, 6:32 AM by  Allan Lengel

Chuck Rizzo Jr. (Fox 2 screenshot)

Ex-garbage king Charles B. Rizzo paid $206,000 to Macomb County officials to land municipal contracts for his former company, Rizzo Environmental Services, federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memo filed Monday, which accuses him of being a greedy man.

"Charles B. Rizzo is a highly capable, ambitious, hardworking, big hearted, and intelligent man. Instead of using those skills and attributes for the good, Rizzo chose to satisfy his personal greed by breaking the law whenever and wherever it served his purposes," prosecutors say in the 21-page document.

"In this instance, Rizzo’s boundless greed and ambition resulted in a sprawling panoply of criminal conduct ranging from bribery to embezzlement to fraud. In his motion, Rizzo largely seeks to place the blame for his own criminal conduct on others, ranging from two-bit corrupt politicians to equity fund managers to schoolyard bullies. In the end, however, Rizzo has only himself and his greed to blame for over six years of cash bribe payments, fake settlement agreements, fraudulent invoices, and other people’s money diverted to the construction of a decadent mansion built on a foundation of crime."

The 47-year-old West Bloomfield resident will be sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland. Prosecutors ask that he get just over six years in prison and forfeit $4 million.

Rizzo’s corruption and bribe payments spread to at least four separate municipalities in Macomb County, authorities said. Rizzo blamed his crimes on "two-bit corrupt politicians" and schoolyard bullies as a kid.

Rizzo pleaded guilty on Nov. 9. He faced charges of bribery and scheming with others to steal hundreds of thousand of dollars from Rizzo Environmental Services between between 2013 and 2016 when the majority owner was a New York-based private equity firm. The company has since been sold to GFL (Green For Life) Environmental.

Rizzo cooperated for a while in the investigation. "Weighing against Rizzo’s conduct are his substantial assistance to the government and his acceptance of responsibility, although reduced based on his misconduct during cooperation and the stoppage of that cooperation," the government memo said.

His father Charles P. Rizzo has also been charged in the scheme.

Federal authorities fear that Rizzo could return to a life of corruption after he's done serving time, writing:

"When Rizzo returns home from prison, he will seek to restart his business career using his still significant financial resources, as well as the wealth of his coconspirator and father. Rizzo and his father own multiple business interests, and they will likely seek to re-establish an enterprise when Rizzo regains his freedom. 

"Given the manner in which Rizzo conducted his bribery and embezzlement schemes, there is a risk that Rizzo will re-offend, especially with the continued support of his co-defendant father and their many business associates who owe money and their employment positions to the Rizzos. Through its sentence, this Court can put Rizzo on notice that his future business endeavors need to scrupulously comply with the law."


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