Cleveland, OH

Former city demolition head sentenced to 21 months for bribery

James Stephens

CLEVELAND — Rufus Taylor, 62, was sentenced on Wednesday, June 2, by the U.S. District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko to 21 months imprisonment, one year of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine.

Taylor, the former head of the City of Cleveland’s Demolition Department, pleaded guilty to bribery in federally funded programs and extortion under color of official right in September 2018.

The City of Cleveland employed Taylor as Chief of the Demolition Bureau from 2012 to 2017. He was in charge of assigning vacant properties to contractors, emergency demolition jobs, and conducting inspections.

From November 2013 to September 2017, Taylor received bribes from two contractors in exchange for preferential treatment and information on demolition jobs around Cleveland.

From November 2013 through September 2017, Taylor received payments for placing a contractor on the City of Cleveland bid list for a demolition job. Then he sought payment in return for notification of an emergency demolition job. At various other times between November 2013 and November 2015, Contractor 1 provided Taylor with cash payments.

From August 2015 to July 2016, Taylor received cash from another contractor for information on companies bidding on a demolition job, information concerning the then-current winning bids for the job, and bid numbers of a pending demolition job.

The case of Taylor 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. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chelsea Rice and Elliot Morrison.

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