Shelby Twp. fires engineer convicted of bribery

Questions about how Board of Trustees members were connected to engineer Fazal Khan, who was convicted of bribery, came up at the July 16 board meeting.

By JUSTIN COOPER

The Shelby Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to terminate their contract with township engineering firm Fazal Khan & Associates, Inc. after the firm’s president, Troy resident Fazullah Khan, was convicted on four counts of bribery last week in federal court. Trustee Viviano was absent and therefore did not vote.

Fazal Khan & Associates had been Shelby Township’s engineering firm since 2009. The termination comes nearly two years after Khan’s September 2017 indictment for bribing two Washington Township officials who were working with the FBI.

In the meantime, the township has continued availing itself of Khan’s services, paying his firm as much as $63,705 in a bill run approved at Tuesday’s meeting, and over $65,000 in the June bill run.

Fazullah Khan, his family, and his employees have in the past made numerous campaign contributions to board members, including Supervisor Rick Stathakis, Clark Stanley Grot, Treasurer Michael Flynn, and Trustees Lynn Wilhelm and Vince Viviano.

Township attorney Rob Huth reiterated the board’s justification for the delayed firing, as he did after the 2017 indictment, by referencing a case in which the township had terminated a contract with an IT company who had been indicted. The company sued the township for wrongful termination and an appeals court ultimately rendered a $550,000 judgment against Shelby Township.

“it can be challenging to use the indictment as the sole purpose or cause of terminating a vendor,” Huth said, as an indictment is not an indicator of guilt. He admitted the circumstances were different but maintained they were “principally ” the same.

Last week in court during Khan’s trial, a former employee who worked with Khan from 2002-2012, Stacy Cerget, testified that she had seen Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot receive numerous bribes from Khan, and Grot testified the next day with his own denial of any such event ever occurring.

According to Huth, to terminate the contract, the township must begin a process to seek proposals for a new township engineer. The supervisor recommended a committee be formed, led by Building Director Tim Wood, to work closely with the township attorney and start taking bids.

Huth said that any remaining engineering work to be done before the contract is terminated will likely be able to be completed by Fazal Khan & Associates. Any uncompleted work will likely be handled on a case-by-case basis, as was done in 2009.

During public comment at the board meeting, Shelby resident Grant Golasa accused Supervisor Stathakis, Clerk Grot, and other trustees of corruption related to Fazal Khan, and Grot in particular of committing perjury.

Supervisor Stathakis responded with hopes that Golasa will someday, “hopefully in my lifetime,” find peace and insisted he had done nothing wrong.

“I have no idea what this Stacy Cerget is talking about,” Stathakis added. “I only know that I’ve done nothing wrong and that all my dealings with Fazal Khan have been business-related. I’ve always said you can’t believe everything you hear, but you can repeat it.”

For his part, Clerk Grot said Cerget had been there only about six months at the beginning of his tenure as Clerk, that he didn’t know where Fazal Khan’s office was “until about a year and a half later.”

Responding to Golasa’s comments, Grot said, “I’ve done a lot more for you, and I can name them, and the people on this board done you a lot of favor,” he said. “I got a lot more on you, man.”