Skip to main content
Press Release

Contractor from North Royalton indicted for paying cash bribes to City of Cleveland building official

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A contractor from North Royalton was indicted for paying cash bribes to a City of Cleveland building official.

Martin Fano, 69, was indicted on seven counts of honest services mail and wire fraud.

According to the indictment:

Fano owned and operated ABC Construction LLC, a business that provided demolition and construction services in the Cleveland area. The company did demolition work for the City of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and private parties.

Fano paid bribes to Rufus Taylor, who served as the City of Cleveland’s Chief of the Demolition Bureau. Fano paid money to Taylor so that Taylor would use his position to ensure work performed by Fano’s company would be quickly inspected after completion and more quickly receive signed permits for work performed.  This took place between June 2016 and January 2017, and this favorable treatment allowed Fano to receive faster payment for demolition jobs

Taylor has pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion charges and is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

“Bribery is not acceptable, whether you are a contractor paying the bribe or a public official accepting the money,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “Rooting out corruption is vital to protecting our public institutions.”

“Bribing a public official is, most assuredly, a bad business practice and against the law,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “The FBI will continue to root out public corruption and hold those that are stealing from our taxpaying citizens accountable in a court of law.”

Brad Geary, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, said: “The prosecution of Mr. Fano’s conduct should serve as a reminder that the HUD Office of Inspector General will vigorously pursue these individuals and bring them to justice.  We wish to thank the U. S. Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners for their continued partnership throughout this investigation.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chelsea S. Rice and Elliot Morrison.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

A charge is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Mike Tobin

Updated February 7, 2019

Public Corruption