Houston Sludge Company in Deep Shit?

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Municipal governance is a lot more fun in Detroit.

Right now, there's an ongoing scandal involving a mayoral affair, not to mention mayoral lying about that affair (Detroit civic boosters, such as they are, no doubt cringe when reading a sentence in the Washington Post that mentions "the Detroit Free Press's revelation of 14,000 flirtatious and sometimes graphic sexual text messages" between the mayor and an aide.)

(Come on -- 14,000 text messages? When do they have time to have sex?)

Now a Houston company is further sullying Detroit's image.

Fittingly, for all you Motor City hatahs, it's a sludge company.

Synagro is a Houston company that takes human waste and other crap and makes it into something a little more palatable. In November they were awarded a $47 million contract (by a 5-4 vote) to handle such duties for some areas in Detroit.

But...the FBI is investigating whether Detroit City Council members took bribes in return for giving Synagro the deal. Such things are apparently frowned on in Detroit.

The council is now deciding whether to rescind the contract, and Synagro is hustling to keep it. Company president Robert Boucher, Jr. wrote a letter, released today, pleading with the council to hold off on any action until the FBI investigation is complete.

"I understand that the ongoing federal investigation has created a difficult environment in which this issue is being discussed and debated," he wrote, "but I believe it is important that you have the results of the investigation before considering taking any action."

Synagro has suspended a one of its vice presidents and a contractor, both of whom were involved in landing the contract.

Tip to Synagro -- don't write letters. Next time, try text messages.

-- Richard Connelly

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