According to the head of the village of Macomb and others, Dino Buchi died on Sunday, who went from a key behind-the-scenes player on the political scene of Macomb County to one of the most prominent corrupt figures in the area.

The former trustee of the town of Macomb and the right hand of the accused ex-commissioner of public works of the county died of complications as a result of a long battle with diabetes. He was 62 years old.

In 2020, he entered into a plea agreement with the federal government on two charges in a long-running investigation that killed more than 20 people, including former garbage tycoon Chuck Ritz and titanium tow truck Gasper Fiora, as well as several local politicians.

Macomb superintendent Frank Viviana was elected after Buchi resigned from the Board of Trustees, but knew about the former elected official and his origins in heinous acts.

“Given his history, I feel terrible for his family and children,” Vivian said. “Losing your parents at a young age is scary. Of course, for the last five or six years he has lived under a cloud along with the deterioration of his health and the way he ended his career. ”

Superintendent of the village of Macomb Frank Vivian (PHOTO OF THE UNCLE FILE MACOMB)

According to several people who knew him, Bucha had to undergo amputation of his leg due to diabetes. They also said he lost three fingers during another amputation.

In 2017, Buchi was charged with conspiracy, bribery, theft, extortion, mail fraud and money laundering in connection with government contracts for his actions as Anthony Morocco’s chief deputy in the Macomb County Public Works Department and as a member of Macomb. Village Board of Trustees.

Three years later, he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit theft.

The then U.S. Attorney General Matthew Schneider said Bucha’s guilty plea “represents a significant milestone in our extensive investigation into corruption in Macomb County. Prolonged imprisonment, which threatens him, should be an unequivocal warning to all government officials who intend to commit acts of corruption that they will be caught and severely punished.

Buchi was expected to testify against Morocco, for which some secretly called him “the man in the bag.” He was known for beating builders and contractors on donations to raise funds from Morocco under a scheme that, according to the federal prosecutor’s office, operated from 1994 to 2016.

His sentencing was also affected by deteriorating health, leading to at least six adjournments. Last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Bucha’s lawyer agreed that he would testify under oath, which could be used in a Moroccan court if he is unable to attend the trial.

Morocco, a Democrat who lost a re-election claim in November 2016 to Republican Candice Miller, is accused of two counts of extortion and one attempted extortion of allegedly using Bucha and others to kill builders and contractors for donations to his fundraiser. The alleged extortion scheme operated from 1994 to 2016.

Buchi resigned from the county in early 2017 under pressure from Miller and left his post in the township in November 2018, a year after the indictment.

Authorities say Buchi ordered contractors to give him tens of thousands of dollars in cash, checks and gift cards in exchange for work and contracts with the township and county.

If the contractors did not pay for the tickets, the indictment said, Marrocco retaliated by delaying building permits, refusing to pay suppliers and refusing to contract with firms.

Bucha’s 21-year-old wife, Gina, filed for divorce in August 2019, saying in court documents that their marriage “was ruined” with little chance of reconciliation.

James Gelias, a former deputy clerk at the late Macomb township clerk Michael Coes, said Buchi had made several enemies at the township’s offices, where he mocked some staff, threatening to fire them. Some have decided to resign rather than face his persecution, Helios said.

James Helios of Macomb Township has retired from the position of Deputy Clerk of Macomb Township and Deputy in the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office. (PHOTO OF JACDA FILE MACOMB)

“Personally, I am disappointed that he will not serve time in prison for the crimes he confessed to,” said Helios, the retired deputy sheriff of Macomb County. “I think there will be a lot of people who will be upset that he didn’t serve one day in prison.

“He had the potential to be a leader, but instead he chose the path of greed,” Gelias said.

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