Demolition chief pleads guilty…

Former Cleveland demolition bureau chief pleads guilty to extorting, accepting bribes.

The city of Cleveland’s former demolition bureau chief has admitted to soliciting and accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from contractors in exchange for a leg up in obtaining city jobs.

Rufus Taylor pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery in a federally funded program.

The 60-year-old, who retired from the city in January after working there for 30 years, gave preferential treatment to two contractors in exchange for information about upcoming projects for demolition and abatement. He and the contractors agreed to take bribes in exchange for the information, and Taylor received cash over several years, authorities say.

The federal government has not identified the contractors.

Prosecutors say Taylor and “Contractor 1” met in November 2013 to discuss a demolition job on Parkwood Drive. They agreed that the contractor would pay Taylor $8,000 in cash in return for Taylor putting the contractor on the bid list, authorities say.

The contractor won the bid on Nov. 12, 2013, gave Taylor $3,000 in cash in December 2013 and $5,000 between November 2013 and November 2015, according to charging documents.

Taylor also told the contractor about an emergency demolition job on East 123rd Street and Coltman Road in October 2015 and asked the contractor for $12,000. The contractor won abatement work but never paid the bribe to Taylor, authorities say.

Then, with a second contractor, Taylor provided bid numbers for a demolition job on Cedar Avenue in August 2015. That contractor submitted the lowest bid, won the job and paid Taylor $5,000, authorities say.

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