Mayor charged in fraud and bribery scheme

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TAYLOR — The mayor of a Detroit suburb and others have been charged with bribery and fraud involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A 33-count indictment Thursday alleges Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars, Community Development Manager Jeffrey Baum and real estate developer Shady Awad participated in a scheme to award tax-foreclosed properties to Awad's business.

In exchange, Awad is accused of providing kickbacks, including cash and renovations worth more than $40,000 at Sollars’ home and his vacation property.

Sollars and Baum also defrauded donors to the mayor's campaign, the indictment alleged.

Prosecutors said they'll ask a judge to let the government keep about $206,000 seized from Sollars’ home in February. The government claims the money was stolen from the mayor's own campaign fund.

Sollars, 45, has denied wrongdoing. He said in a video posted on Facebook that the cash was won in Las Vegas.

"We looked at this indictment. We're not scared by it," defense lawyer Todd Flood told reporters. "We're going to take this day and clear my client because he did nothing wrong, and he's going to continue to serve the people of Taylor."

It wasn't immediately clear if Baum and Awad have attorneys.

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