Wayne Co. utilities manager ousted over fraud scandal

DETROIT (WWJ) –Wayne County Utilities Division Manager Beverly Watts was replaced just days after two former employees were charged with taking $1.7 million from county funds.

WWJ Newsradio 950 was able to confirm that Watt’s last day was Friday, May 6; a committee meeting held Tuesday in Detroit did not mention Watt’s vacancy.

The Watts’ post oversaw the Wayne County Roads Division, one of the largest departments in the nation.

Watt’s ousting comes a week after two former Wayne County employees were arrested and charged with fraudulently purchasing nearly 600 generators and other electrical equipment that authorities said they sold for personal use.

Wayne County District Attorney Kym Worthy and United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced the charges May 3 against Kevin Gunn, 64, of West Bloomfield, and John L. Gibson, 54. , of Detroit, charged with embezzling more than $1.7 million in the county. funds.

A total of 596 generators and other electrical equipment such as lawnmowers, chainsaws and backpack blowers were illegally acquired between January 2019 and August 2021, for a total of $1.7 million in public funds, it said. authorities.

None of the purchases were authorized and none of the equipment was approved or used by Wayne County, officials said.

Federal investigators said the two men asked vendors to purchase the equipment which was later sold online by Gunn and Gibson.

Gunn was employed by Wayne County for 34 years and led the Wayne County Roads Division Bridge Unit. Gibson was a foreman in the deck unit and worked for Wayne County for 20 years.