APNewsBreak: Charges don't stop USPS contractor

AP News
Posted: May 13, 2011 5:56 PM
APNewsBreak: Charges don't stop USPS contractor

The U.S. Postal Service still was doing business Friday with a Detroit contractor that repairs mail vehicles, a day after the garage was accused of paying thousands of dollars in bribes and providing a prostitute to government employees.

The contractor was not named or charged in indictments filed against five current or retired Postal Service employees. But one of the defendants, Bruce Plumb, told The Associated Press that the business is Metro Diesel, just a few miles west of downtown.

The AP went to Metro Diesel's garage on Friday and saw seven Postal Service vehicles inside. Some were on hoists with the wheels off. More were parked outside.

"I'm not going to comment on that," said agent Scott Balfour of the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, when asked why Metro Diesel still was working for the government.

Metro Diesel president Joe Fawaz was not at the garage and didn't immediately return messages seeking comment Friday.

Five men, mostly vehicle maintenance managers, have been charged with conspiracy and bribery. The government says they accepted money, tickets to sporting events, cars and home improvements to ensure that the contractor was hired to fix mail vehicles in southeastern Michigan and Akron, Ohio.

The Postal Service Detroit district manager, Charles Howe, has authority to end the deal but no action is expected immediately, spokesman Ed Moore said.

"We are still looking at things internally to determine how we can proceed from here. Nobody has been found guilty of anything," Moore said.

The Postal Service has paid more than $13 million to Metro Diesel to repair vehicles over a seven-year period.

Plumb, 61, now retired, is accused of having weekly $300 trysts with a prostitute paid by the contractor. He acknowledged it in a courthouse interview with the AP.

Two others, Jeff Adams, 50, of Copley, Ohio, and Denny Robinson, 35, of Brownstown Township, Mich., are each accused of accepting more than $60,000 and cars. All five defendants have pleaded not guilty.

In 1993, Plumb was shot during a rampage at a Dearborn post office but returned to work within days, according to court documents.