REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER PLEADS GUILTY TO BRIBERY CONSPIRACY INVOLVING CITY OF TAYLOR OFFICIALS
DETROIT – Real Estate Developer Shady Awad, 41, of Allen Park, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with Richard Sollars, Mayor of the City of Taylor and Jeffrey Baum, City of Taylor Community Development Manager and former Treasurer for the Committee to Elect Richard (“RICK”) Sollars by giving Sollars cash, household appliances, free renovations to his home and lake house, and other items of value in connection with the City of Taylor’s Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”) Program, which is a program designed to allow Taylor to acquire tax-foreclosed properties from Wayne County for redevelopment, Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin announced today.
According to court records, between 2016 and 2018, Shady Awad paid for improvements and renovations to Sollars’ home and lake house totaling over $50,000; provided his credit card information to another developer interested in acquiring tax-foreclosed properties under the City’s ROFR program and allowed that developer to charge over $19,000 to his credit cards, which the developer converted to cash and gave to Sollars; and, gave Sollars at least $4,000 in cash while Sollars gambled in Las Vegas, all in exchange for Sollars’ assistance in obtaining tax- foreclosed properties under the City’s ROFR program. Among other items of value, Shady Awad paid for the installation of hardwood flooring, garage doors, front doors as well as kitchen appliances, a Hall Tree bench and washer and dryer at Sollars’ home. In addition, Shady Awad also paid for the installation of hardwood flooring and deck and railings refinishing at Sollars’ lake house. Between 2015 and 2018, Awad was awarded the vast majority of Taylor’s tax-foreclosed properties in the City’s ROFR program.
The bribery conspiracy count to which Awad pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 5 years of imprisonment. Under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, it is likely that Awad will face a guideline sentencing range of between 37 and 46 months of imprisonment, and a maximum fine of up to $250,000. A sentencing date has been set for March 1, 2022.
Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Timothy Waters, Special Agent In Charge of the Michigan Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Not only do we seek to hold public officials accountable when they violate the law, we also hold those accountable who benefit from such illegal activity,” said Acting US Attorney Mohsin. “Today’s plea is a step towards ensuring that the citizens of Taylor receive the honest government services they are entitled to.”
“Mr. Awad’s investigation is proof of the FBI’s resolve to root out fraud and corruption in all forms,” said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division. “It is our continuing core mission to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of city governments and to take strong action against those who seek to personally benefit by corrupting the fair administration of government programs."
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison.