DPW staffer bound for circuit on gambling charges

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — After waiving his right to a district court preliminary exam, Trenton Department of Public Works employee Kevin Sargent was expected to be arraigned Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court on racketeering charges.

Sargent, 35, and Flat Rock Police Sgt. Charles Sanders Jr., 46, face up to 20 years in prison for 14 counts of racketeering and operating an illegal gambling operation. A year-long investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended with allegations that the two men took bets, mostly on football, while on duty and using city phones and equipment.

As of Monday, Sargent was back on paid duty with the Trenton DPW. City Administrator Jim Wagner said that Sargent exhausted both personal leave and unpaid leave since being charged, and city officials agreed to restore his employment pending the outcome of court proceedings and an internal review.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” Wagner said, although much of that research is on hold. “The material needed is in the hands of the Michigan Attorney General and the FBI.”

Sargent waived a March 16 preliminary exam before 33rd District Court Judge James Mersten, and was bound over to circuit court. Sanders was to face a Friday preliminary exam before being bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court.

Sargent and Sanders were first charged with racketeering in January. Sargent used accrued personal days before a scheduled February Garrity hearing with city officials, a semi-formal inquiry in which the information obtained cannot be used in court.

City Administrator Jim Wagner said that a temporary resolution allowed Sanders to exhaust an allowed period of unpaid leave before being put back on the payroll last week.

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