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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It’s a new sleazeball record, even for South Florida: three different mayors busted on corruption charges in 22 days.

That’s almost a mayor a week in handcuffs. No other county in the nation can match the pace of corruption being set by Miami-Dade.

Last Wednesday it was Homestead mayor Steve Bateman, currently running for re-election, who got pinched on two felony counts of unlawful compensation and assorted violations of the county’s ethics code.

(I’m not joking. There really is an ethics code.)

Bateman was in the shower when cops came knocking. Said his attorney: “He is shocked by having been arrested with no advance notice.”

Like what, an engraved invitation? The mayor’s antics have kept him in the news for years, and his sketchy business dealings have been well chronicled by The Miami Herald and WFOR-CBS 4.

Bateman is charged with serving as a secret paid “consultant” to a company called Community Health of South Florida, which runs nonprofit health clinics. CHI has a long-pending project in Homestead, and the mayor allegedly offered to “make the wheels turn faster,” one employee said.

He got himself a tasty one-year contract for $120,000. Prosecutors say he collected less than half the amount before his arrest.

Here’s the heartwarming part. CHI delivers medical services to the poor, but Bateman allegedly had no qualms about overbilling. He spent one hour with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his staff, then he invoiced CHI for eight hours.

The confluence of greed and stupidity is a recurring theme in bribery cases, but what distinguishes our wayward politicians is a special brand of blithe and arrogant bumbling.

At least Bateman was aiming for a six-figure payoff, according to the state attorney’s office. Usually local pols can be bought much cheaper.

Last March, Sweetwater mayor Manuel Marono and lobbyist Jorge Forte allegedly split a $10,000 cash bribe at a restaurant. The money was tucked in a notebook offered by two FBI agents posing as Chicago businessmen.

  • MollyBee64

    It may be funny if it wasn’t so true. Scammers, cheaters and liars in key political positions is old hat for FLA…..the State that elected the Medicare defrauder as their governor.

  • charleo1

    When your State with one of the largest Medicare populations in the Country,
    elects as it’s Governor Rick Scott, the former CEO of Columbia HCA. Who’s
    company was fined a record 1.7 billion dollars in fines, and damages for billing practices that included, but were not limited to, falsely billing Medicare, billing Medicare for false diagnosis, advertising they called, “public education,” and
    even for tickets to the Kentucky Derby! It was found they kept two sets of books.
    One for legit billing, and the other set that contained billings the government would probably challenge, if they checked. More than a billion was kept on hand to, “reimburse,” the government, (tax payers,) until the statute of time limitations ran out. Scott himself dodged jail by the skin of his teeth, by taking the 5th some ridiculous 50 or 60 times. (I forget.) He was kicked out of the company he founded, at the government’s strong insistence. He of course got a solid gold severance package of 10 million, plus his stock in the company, which is still doing big business with Uncle Sam, valued at 300 million. He was, of course the Florida, Tea Party Candidate. You know the people who are just mad as Hell, at being, “Taxed Enough Already?” He
    has decided not to cooperate with healthcare reform. Costing his cash strapped
    State more than a half billion, in forfeited Federal dollars.