The top official in Macomb County says concerns over widely-suspected corruption in government there helped propel Donald Trump into the Oval Office.
Federal officials have now charged 16 people in connection with what they call a pay-to-play scheme in the county.
The federal government is investigating alleged corruption involving a number of entities including the trash-hauling company Rizzo Environmental Services, the Macomb County Public Works office and several municipalities in the county.
“Everybody knew it. And when I say everybody I’m not kidding…But they were afraid to step out (and talk about it.)” – Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says he cannot adequately comment on municipal matters.
But a former county Public Works chief engineer was recently charged with bribery as part of the investigation.
And Hackel alleges that such corruption was widespread, and widely known, under the administration of former Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco.
“Everybody knew it. And when I say everybody I’m not kidding,” Hackel says. “Didn’t matter whether it was public officials or contractors, (they) would talk about the inappropriate conduct that was going on within that office. But they were afraid to step out because they were worried about what (Marrocco) would do to them if he got reelected back into the office.”
Hackel, a Democrat, supported the former GOP Congresswoman during her campaign.
“I think that’s what overwhelmingly helped Donald Trump. Because people…were certainly tired of the same old, same old public officials that they just didn’t trust anymore.” – Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel
But the County Executive says concerns over corrupt public officials caused Macomb County voters to look away from traditional politicians and instead hand the White House to a businessman with no government experience.
“I think that’s what overwhelmingly helped Donald Trump. People may not have liked him but they were certainly tired of the same old, same old public officials that they just didn’t trust anymore. They said enough. And I think…right now law enforcement is diving into some of the other public corruption issues and people are saying, ‘Well, ’bout time they’re cleaning that up.’ ”
Experts say Macomb County residents were among a relative handful of voters nationwide that eventually decided the 2016 presidential race in favor of Trump.
He vowed during the campaign to return outsourced auto jobs to Macomb County and make Michigan the manufacturing hub of the world.