Rufus Taylor, the ex-Chief of the City of Cleveland’s Demolition Bureau, was today charged in federal court with soliciting and accepting a series of bribes from 2013 through 2016 from two contractors.
Taylor, as the Feds laid out in today’s information filing, engaged in a pretty straight up illegal scheme whereby he’d ask contractors for bribes — as low as $300 and as high as $8,000 — to get them to the top of the city’s bid list for work boarding up or demolishing properties. An information filing suggests the defendant is entering a plea agreement with authorities on the charges, which in this case include one count of bribery of a federally funded program and one count of extortion.
The contractors aren’t identified in the filing — simply listed as Contractor 1 and Contractor 2.
Taylor, after 30 years with the City of Cleveland, retired in January.
The case was investigated by FBI, IRS and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General.
“Public contracts should go to the most qualified bidder, not the best connected,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a statement. “We will remain vigilant and public employees who take bribes will be brought to justice.”