DPW worker on unpaid leave while awaiting gambling trial

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — A city Department of Public Works employee remains on staff but is on unpaid pending the outcome of criminal gambling charges.

DPW employee Kevin Sargent, 35, was arraigned last month in 33rd District Court, along with Flat Rock Police Sgt. Charles Sanders Jr., 46, on racketeering charges. The 14 criminal counts against Sargent and Sanders followed a year-long investigation by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sargent and Sanders face up to 20 years if convicted; a preliminary examination of the evidence is scheduled for Friday before 33rd District Court Judge James K. Kersten.

After last month’s arraignment, Sargent used accrued personal time awaiting a scheduled Garrity hearing with city and union officials to review the circumstances. Under the terms of a Garrity hearing, a municipal employee may be questioned without the answers being used in any subsequent trial or court hearing.

Prior to the scheduled meeting, Trenton City Administrator Jim Wagner said that a temporary resolution was found by both parties.

“We entered into an agreement and the hearing was not held,” Wagner said.

Deputy City Administrator Scott Church said that no final decisions have been made, since there’s an ongoing criminal case, and that Sargent remains a city employee but is on unpaid leave.

“Any eventual return is largely contingent on what happens to the criminal charges,” Church said.

Investigators said the two men collected bets and communicated with gamblers and each other on company time, including while Sanders was driving his patrol car. Following the arraignment last month, Sanders was placed on administrative leave by the Flat Rock Police Department.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)