7 Action News investigation into Ecorse paving contract sparks a criminal probe

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A 7 Action News investigation into a paving company accused by former employees of cheating taxpayers in a Detroit suburb is now a criminal probe.  We've learned that Michigan State Police have launched a criminal probe into the allegations.

In May, 7 Action News interviewed two former employees of ABC Paving Company in Trenton, a firm that is now out of business. The identities of the two men were not disclosed.

The men claimed their former employer had charged the City of Ecorse tens of thousands of dollars for pavement patching work that was never done. They said Ecorse never had any inspectors on the jobs and there was virtually no oversight.

Invoices from ABC paving, obtained by 7 Action News under the Freedom of Information Act, didn't even specify where the paving work was done.

Before our investigation aired, we played the interviews of the former ABC employees for Joyce Parker, the Emergency Manager in Ecorse and the Public Works Director, Scott Davidson.

After our story aired, Parker called the Michigan State Police requesting a criminal investigation and 7 Action News was contacted by a detective who confirmed a probe is underway.

One of the men interviewed in our story in May has now revealed his identity. His name is Dwight David Bruno and he told 7 Action News he spent more than an hour with the detective investigating the case. Bruno said he gave the detective names of other former ABC employees and answered questions.

"A lot of things he was unclear of I brought clarity to," Bruno said.

Bruno and another former ABC employee told 7 Action News in May that the company did private paving jobs and billed the City of Ecorse for labor and materials, essentially getting paid twice for the same job. He said Ecorse taxpayers paid for patching work that was never done.

In our May investigation , ABC's attorney, Bill Donovan, said the company had run into financial problems in 2010 and later went out of business. He said they had never been accused of anything like this in the past.

Donovan said the former owners of ABC are astonished by the criminal investigation. Donovan said ABC performed all the work called for in the Ecorse contract and the city was even considering giving them more work.

The Investigators will stay on the case and let you know what comes of the police investigation.

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