Ex-Plymouth Employee Headed to Prison for Accepting Bribes
A federal court judge sentenced a former Plymouth city employee who was accused of soliciting and receiving bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding city contracts. Ronnie Taggart, 51, of Golden Valley, pleaded guilty in May to one of count of wire fraud.
Taggart worked as the city’s facilities supervisor from Oct. 1, 2012 through Nov. 23, 2016. His job paid him an annual salary of $100,000 a year.
According to court documents, Taggart received nearly $60,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding contracts outside the city’s competitive bidding process. Taggart tried to conceal the payoffs. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Taggart encouraged contractors to submit a second fake bid. He also encouraged contractors to inflate bids to cover up what he received in return.
Along with roughly $35,000 in cash, Taggart received non-cash bribes from contractors such as new kitchen appliances, installation of new carpet, a new concrete driveway, a new garage door, a yard irrigation and sprinkler system, and extensive landscaping and electrical work.
The city of Plymouth responded to the announcement, releasing a statement:
“The City of Plymouth values the trust the public places in us and we are gratified to see a conclusion that provides serious consequences, including restitution, for the violation of that trust,” the statement read.
In late fall of 2016, the city discovered “isolated financial irregularities.” The city reported the irregularities to authorities, including the Plymouth City Council, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Minnesota state auditor and city attorney.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, no contractors have been charged in the kickback scheme.