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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Florida the rules are different here Chapter XLIII

Do you want cream and sugar along with that kickback?

Caught on videotape: A high-ranking city of Miami employee accepting a $1,000 kickback while seated outdoors at a Starbucks located right across the street from the Miami-Dade Courthouse.

Police say Miguel Angel Mejia, who works in Miami's General Services Administration, tried to shake down a contractor who had received an $11,500 air-conditioning installation job from the city.

The contractor didn't want to pay the bribe and called police.

The contractor then took part in the videotaped sting operation, meeting Mejia at the Starbucks in March, police said.

Police arrested Mejia on Monday and in an afternoon press conference announced he confessed to the crime. Mejia, who was still in custody, is the acting superintendent of the GSA's Property and Maintenance Division, in charge of maintaining city office buildings.

On prosecutors' surveillance video shot at the Starbucks, Mejia and contractor Patrick Kerney, owner of Kerney and Associates, can be seen sipping coffee and chatting at an outdoor table.
Thank you Mr. Kerney for putting this scoundrel out of business.

A Starbucks right across from the courthouse. Mejia could hardly been more brazen except of course if he took the bribe at his work. Like another local crook, I hope Mr. Mejia does a long stint in jail.

The rest of the Miami Herald article is below.

Linked to Bright & Early, Basil's Blog,

Kerney then pulls a large wad of cash from one of his pockets and extends it toward Mejia, who nonchalantly reaches across the table and accepts it.

Mejia, who earns $88,511 in his city post, faces one count of unlawful compensation, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

''He wanted to put that money -- your money, taxpayer dollars -- in his greedy little hands,'' Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said.

The Miami-Dade Police Department's Public Corruption Investigations Bureau conducted the operation.

According to the department's arrest affidavit, Kerney in November faxed the city a $9,500 estimate to install an air-conditioning system at a city code enforcement office located at 1300 SW 12th Ave.

The affidavit states that ''within a few days'' Mejia contacted Kerney and told him to add $2,000 to the price of the job, ``just in case.''

Kerney apparently assumed that extra money would be used to pay for any unforeseen expenses that arose during the installation.

But police say Mejia made it clear in January -- about a week after Kerney's company was paid -- that he expected a $1,000 cut for his role in increasing the price.

Police asked that any other contractors who may have similarly been pressured by Mejia come forward and talk to authorities.

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