By ANDREW NEAL
Macomb Township clerk Kristi Pozzi used her time at Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting to question township attorney Thomas Esordi’s involvement in the ever-widening FBI Rizzo corruption investigation.
Former township trustee Clifford Freitas has pled guilty to charges stemming from the investigation, and newly-released documents mention Esordi by name, which has prompted some residents to question the extent of his involvement.
“Several residents have commented tonight about the pre-sentencing information on Cliff Freitas that was provided yesterday. It seems to be a very hot topic in the township,” Pozzi said. “Mr. Esordi was clearly named in this pre-sentencing order and he has been adamant to me, and I believe several members of the township that work here, that he has zero relationship with the Rizzo contract and that his fingerprints will be found nowhere on it. In the sentencing it clearly indicated differently, so I’d like to ask Mr. Esordi could he explain that.”
After a pause, Esordi said, “What would like explained? I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to comment on an attorney’s attempt to obtain … a lighter sentence when his client’s a convicted felon.”
Pozzi questioned this response and indicated that he appeared to have no problem discussing similar attorney-related matters in the past and wondered why this case was different. Esordi did not respond.
“It’s concerning to us as board members if this has any factual basis behind it because it seems it has been very untruthful to this board. That’s all,” Pozzi said.
“Are you suggesting I’m untruthful?” Esordi asked.
“Nope,” Pozzi said. “I just said the information could be untruthful.”
Trustee Nevers interjected, “There are things that I’m sure have gone on that Mr. Esordi is privy but yet unable to say anything, so maybe this isn’t just the right time. Maybe down the road a little bit we’ll have a little more-clearer picture.”
Pozzi suggested that the new information revealed a further extent of Esordi’s involvement than had been previously disclosed, and that was her basis for questioning.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, former township supervisor Mark Grabow detailed some of the information in the newly-released documents. “The charges on Cliff Freitas’ case are very clear, along with the transcript and the wiretaps, where it lays out the township source directing of the actions to take place and the township attorney to be expecting a call and follow up as directed to,” Grabow said. “It’s startin’ to smell like Rizzo in here.”
Grabow recommended a review of the township attorney’s contract. He went on to call for his resignation.
Former deputy clerk and current ethics board member Jim Gelios mentioned the $66,000 in kickbacks sitting Trustee Dino Bucci recently returned to the federal government and questioned whether or not the township attorney has sought to recoup any money from Bucci for the township. “He was asked to do that by Clerk Pozzi at the October 11, 2017 board meeting which was six months ago,” Gelios said.
Gelios recommended the township file a civil action suit against Bucci for dereliction of duty, as he has not appeared at any board or ZBA meetings since his indictment, yet he is still receiving his monthly pay.
Tommy Sokol, another member of the newly-created ethics board, spoke to what he sees as a widespread culture of corruption. “It seems when it comes to meeting etiquette, professionalism, and even more important, accountability, that many of you up here today are totally lacking leadership and direction in where and how to focus your efforts.”
You can watch the full April 11 meeting on Youtube by searching “MTGAcable.” The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 30.