Contractor indicted over bribery claims…

Man stands accused of bribing Cleveland officials for preferential treatment.

An Ohio demolition contractor was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday on charges that he bribed the former chief of the city of Cleveland’s demolition bureau to get a leg up on city work.

Eric Witherspoon, the head of Arick’s Environmental Services and Arick’s Services, is charged with two counts of bribery and seven counts of honest services wire fraud. Witherspoon, who does asbestos removal and demolition work, is accused of giving cash to Rufus Taylor, the now-retired head of the city’s demolition bureau, in exchange for confidential information and preferential treatment for city jobs.

Witherspoon, 55, of Warrensvillle Heights, gave thousands of dollars in bribes to Taylor over several years.

Taylor pleaded guilty Sept. 4 to extortion and bribery in a federally funded program. He admitted to taking thousands of dollars in bribes from two contractors and gave them preferential treatment for government-funded demolition and abatement projects.

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