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Bucci pleads guilty in Macomb County public corruption scheme; former boss Marrocco indicted

Macomb Township Board of Trustees

A former Macomb County politician is facing up to ten years behind bars after pleading guilty to federal theft and extortion charges.

Dino Bucci was former Macomb County Public Works Director Anthony Marrocco’s right-hand man for more than 20 years. And he was an elected Macomb Township trustee.

Now, he’s pleaded guilty to corruption charges stemming from both those jobs.

As Marrocco’s deputy, Bucci was in charge of making sure county contractors knew that if they wanted work, they had to buy expensive tickets to Marrocco’s fundraisers, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan said in a statement.

“Marrocco directed Bucci to communicate to the builders and contractors that if they did not purchase a sufficient amount of fundraising tickets, they would suffer severe economic consequences. Those consequences included holding up required permits that would financially damage the extortion victims,” the statement said.

Bucci also pleaded guilty to urging Macomb Township contractor Chris Sorrentino to overcharge the township for paving work, then pocketing kickbacks. The plea agreement requires Bucci to re-pay $96,000.

Bucci is one of 22 former public officials and bribe-paying businessmen convicted on federal corruption charges in Metro Detroit. His plea agreement calls for a 9-10 year prison sentence.

Bucci’s former boss Marrocco was also indicted this week for his role as alleged ringleader of the extortion scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, “Marrocco allegedly kept lists of those who purchased these expensive tickets and those who did not. Marrocco would allegedly inflict economic punishment on those who did not purchase tickets by holding up permits for builders, delaying payments owed to DPW vendors, and refusing to award DPW contracts to engineering firms, among other punishments.”

The indictment alleges that Marrocco used some of the money he extorted to pay for personal expenses, including air travel, car rentals, dinners at high-end restaurants, condo association charges, spa visits, wedding and holiday gifts, and yacht club charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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