DETROIT (Legal Newsline) - The former supervisor of a Detroit suburb was sentenced Friday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to violating the Clean Air Act's asbestos requirements.

William Morgan, the former supervisor of Royal Oak Township had also pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and commit bribery.

"It is reprehensible that a public official made asbestos abatement decisions based on a bribe, not on what was needed to protect the health of the community," said Randall Ashe, special agent in charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Michigan.

"The sentence shows that government officials who attempt to line their pockets rather than carry out their responsibilities honestly will be prosecuted to the full extent to the law."

Morgan allegedly awarded a contract and distribution of federal funds that were intended to be used by communities for the improvement of blighted areas by removing dilapidated buildings. The funding was received through HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Morgan, in addition to being Township supervisor, was also Royal Oak's coordinator for NSP.

But Morgan received a $10,000 bribe from Sureguard/PBM, a company that bid for the demolition and asbestos removal of an abandoned theater, the EPA claims. Morgan attempted to steer the contract to Sureguard/PBM, the EPA claims. Royal Oak's Board of Supervisors awarded the contract to another company, which had submitted a lower bid.

During the demolition process, Morgan asked for and received cash payments of $500 and $1,000 from the owner of the company doing the demolition, it is alleged. According to the EPA, Morgan received these payments under the belief that they were in return for his approval of a change order covering the asbestos abatement that fraudulently inflated the cost of the work.

There were three alleged co-conspirators. One, Terrance Parker, received a sentence of 21 months. The other two, Kendrick Covington and Marcus Brown are awaiting sentencing.

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