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Men took bribes for tips on Detroit demolition work

April 9, 2019

DETROIT (AP) — Two people pleaded guilty Tuesday to corruption in Detroit’s home demolition program, the first convictions resulting from a federal investigation into a multimillion-dollar effort to eliminate widespread blight.

Anthony Daguanno and Aradondo Haskins said they shared key bid information with a subcontractor when they were putting together demolition proposals for their employer, Adamo Group.

Daguanno received more than $372,000 in return. Haskins got $26,000, including some money when he was hired by Detroit to oversee certain demolition projects.

Detroit has received $258 million from the federal government since 2013 to get rid of abandoned buildings. The city says 17,260 have been knocked down since 2014, mostly houses.

“The corruption of the government contracting process by these two individuals damaged the integrity of the demolition program and broke the public trust,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin.

Haskins told a judge that the payments came from Rich Berg at Environmental Specialty Services. A message seeking comment from Berg wasn’t immediately returned.

Haskins, 48, and Daguanno, 62, each face up to 30 months in prison.

“The government, as of today’s date, does not anticipate charging any additional public officials,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Outside court, defense attorney David Burgess declined to reveal whether Haskins is helping investigators. Fellow defense attorney Richard Helfrick told reporters that Daguanno hasn’t been asked to testify against anyone.

City council member Mary Sheffield said Congress should hold hearings on how Detroit has used federal money for demolitions.

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