Ex-Detroit Airport Manager Now A Fugitive After $6 Million Bribery Conviction

There’s a never-ending debate within aviation circles: is the most corrupt airport authority in Atlanta or Detroit, or is it the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey?

Detroit has an aggressive new entry in the race, as a former utilities manager is now a fugitive after being convicted in one of the nation’s largest-every bribery cases. Update: after writing this, but before it was published, the man’s body was found – it appears that he killed himself rather than going to prison.

From May of 2010 through August of 2014, authorities alleged that Warner directed more than $43 million in airport infrastructure projects to three co-conspirators—William Pritula, Douglas Earles and Gary Tenaglia—in exchange for over $6 million in kickbacks.

On one occasion, Warner falsified the square footage and asphalt depth on an airport roadway project and approved a $938,000 bill from Pritula’s company for work which Pritula’s subcontractor only invoiced $275,000, authorities. Warner and Pritula then split the profit.

His defense in the case, by the way, is that the people who bribed him weren’t credible witnesses because they bribed him. Oh, need I mention that his wife invoiced the airport for marketing and website consulting – for a website that didn’t exist?

He told contractors, “You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for me, your ass would be out and that they “needed to be part of the ‘brotherhood’ at the airport and that cash kickbacks were the “cost of doing business.” And he ate some of the evidence against him.

In Atlanta if you want to open a restaurant you donate to a political campaign and pay the former mayor’s daughter. The airport’s former manager was fired for being insufficiently corrupt, and then the city council buried the payments that bought his silence. But Detroit may be even worse. And of course taxpayers lavished hundreds of millions on these clowns in pandemic bailouts.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary you should have checked yesterday’s news before publishing this story today. His body was found yesterday. So he’s no longer a fugitive.

  2. Well, there is some good news regarding his recently discovered “status”….ending it way………..

    Sure cuts down on the repeaters!!”

  3. I hope the once Great America fight this kind of mess back, I exiled from Venezuela just because how normalized all this kind of stuff was.

  4. Suicide? Right and Jimmy Hoffa and Vince Foster also killed themselves.

    (Born in Chicago, raised in NYC skeptic)

  5. Welp, he off’d himself. This frees up one more prison bed for a Burner, Looter or Murderer…….yeah right.

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