Detroit official gets 1 year in demolition scam — feds wanted more
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Aradondo Haskins, 48, a former Field Operations Manager for the Detroit Building Authority, was sentenced to 12 months in prison Monday for rigging bids and pocketing $26,500 in bribes from a subcontractor looking for a favor. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, who also ordered him to forfeit his bribe money and pay a $5,000 fine.
Haskins’ sentence comes five months after he and an associate pleaded guilty to corruption, admitting they shared key bid information with a subcontractor while assembling demolition proposals for their employer, Adamo Group.
Haskins pleaded guilty alongside Anthony DaGuanno, whom prosecutors said received more than $372,000 in bribes for rigging demolition bids. DaGuanno also received one year in prison for his crime. The two were targeted in a federal investigation into a multimillion-dollar effort to wipe out blight in Detroit and tear down vacant houses. Since 2013, Detroit has received more than $258 million in federal funds to tear down abandoned buildings
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Haskins was involved in the bidding process for demolition contracts, both while working for Adamo, a private demolotion company, and later for the city of Detroit.
In assembling the bid packages for Adamo, prosecutors said, Haskins accepted bribes on at least eight occasions from a subcontractor who wanted in on the deals, totaling approximately $14,000.
Haskins was eventually hired by the City of Detroit Building Authority as a Field Operations Manager for its demolition program. He was the primary point of contact for demolition contractors and opened and read bids that contractors submitted to the city.
While working for the city, prosecutors said, Haskins accepted $11,500 in bribes from a contractor. He also accepted another $1,000 bribe after he was fired from the job, they said.
As Detroit’s FBI chief Steven D’Antuono explained: “Mr. Haskins was sentenced today for corrupting the bidding process both while he was seeking contracts through a federally funded program and after he became a City of Detroit employee,.
Added First Assistant U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin: “The corruption of the government contracting process by Aradondo Haskins damaged the integrity of the demolition program and broke the public trust.”
While prosecutors asked for a 30-month prison sentence, Haskins’ lawyer asked for no prison time.
“A sentence of incarceration would undo everything he has worked for over the past few years and would require him to rebuild everything anew once released,” Haskins’ lawyer, David Burgess, wrote in a sentencing memo, adding “It would also delay the payment of restitution in full.”
Burgess described his client as a hardworking father with two college-age children who used bad judgment and “prays that they both learn from his mistakes.”
“They are his world. He feels that he let them both down by his actions in this case,” Burgess wrote, arguing his client did not realize what he was getting into.
“Mr. Haskins walked into a workplace where a “pay to play” environment already existed. When he first started working at Adamo, he was first rewarded with free Detroit Tigers tickets for his performance. Then it became a couple hundred dollars in cash occasionally. Mr. Haskins did not seek out this money unilaterally, nor did he realize the impact of receiving the money he did for projects involving public funds,” Burgess wrote, adding: “ … Mr. Haskins now feels stupid for not thinking more intelligently about his actions. However, Mr. Haskins did not create the “pay to play” environment, but was instead indoctrinated into it.”
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