CLEVELAND, Ohio — A North Royalton contractor is charged with paying bribes to a former Cleveland official, as part of an expanding federal probe into corruption within the city’s demolition operations.
A federal grand jury indicted ABC Construction owner Martin Fano Wednesday on seven counts of honest services mail and wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement that the 69 year old paid cash bribes to Rufus Taylor, then the city’s demolition bureau chief.
Fano bribed Taylor between June 2016 and January 2017 so the city would provide quick inspections of his company’s work and get more immediate access to signed permits for his jobs, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This allowed him to garner faster payments for demolition jobs, according to a news release.
The case centers on two demolition jobs ABC Construction did for on East 72nd Street and Marshall Avenue for the Cuyahoga County Land Bank in 2016. Charging documents detail three instances in which authorities say Fano gave Taylor a combined $460.
Fano declined to discuss the case when contacted Thursday and said he would have his attorney call a cleveland.com reporter. His attorney James Lynch said his client would plead not guilty and fight the charges......