When you sling sludge for a living and one of your top guys admits to bribing city officials with cash, free Las Vegas trips, and Cristal champagne, where do you go for some good PR? Reality television.
The CEO of Synagro Technologies, Bill Massa, put on his waders Sunday night on CBS’s “Undercover Boss” and posed as a new employee in hopes of getting a ground-floor look at his Houston-based biosolids company. (You can watch the show here.)
Massa has been on the job since November 2009, the same month the company’s former vice president, James Rosendall, was sentenced to 11 months in prison for bribery and Detroit businessman Rayford Jackson, Synagro’s local partner, got five years on similar charges.
Before Massa put on his disguise — which consisted mostly of a shave and some Just for Men — he briefly referenced Synagro’s Detroit troubles.
“A lot of bad things happened to the previous administration,” Massa says in a voiceover while headlines of Rosendall’s sentencing scrolled on the screen. “A few years ago an employee attempted to influence a local board to award a contract to Synagro in an effort to increase his commission. They were just bad business people.”
That’s followed by introducing the off-the-clock Massa: making pizza from scratch, drinking wine with his wife (his high school sweetheart) and her kissing him as he heads out the door to work, saying, “Don’t get dirty.”
The shots of the eastside’s Mr. Fish – where Jackson’s brother says he delivered an envelope to former Councilwoman Monica Conyers – must have been left on the cutting room floor.