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Former Wayne County Airport official charged for allegedly accepting over $5M in bribes, kickbacks

Former Wayne County Airport official charged for allegedly accepting over $5M in bribes, kickbacks
Posted at 3:38 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 16:40:52-04

A former Wayne County Airport official has been charged for allegedly accepting bribes and kickbacks totaling over $5 million. 

James Warner, 51, a department manager in utilities and infrastructure at the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), was indicted by a federal gand jury on eight counts of conspiracy, federal program bribery, federal program theft, money laundering and obstruction of justice, in connection with maintenance and repair contracts for runways and parking structures at Detroit Metropolitan Airports, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider announced Wednesday. 

According to the indictment, from May 2010 through August 2014, Warner engaged in multiple schemes to defraud the WCAA out of millions of dollars. 

In one instance, Warner allegedly devised a plan in which he would provide confidential and proprietary information to Gary Tenaglia, who owned and operated Envision Electric, in order to enable Tenaglia to secure and retain repair and maintenance contracts for parking structures at DTW, according to court documents. 

 While meeting with Tengalia over dinner, Warner allegedly told him that he would need to pay to be part of the "brotherhood" at the airport. During the meal, Warner proposed Tengalia pay a $5,000 kickback, and wrote that request on a napkin. 

Court documents allege that Warner folded the napkin and slid it across the table to Tenaglia. After Tenaglia acknowledged the note, Warner retrieved the napkin and ate it to conceal the evidence. 

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, this is one of the largest bribes prosecuted to date in the Eastern District of Michigan,