There must be something in the latte
Some news from the Miami Herald
The surveillance video showed two men chatting and drinking coffee next to a window at a South Beach Starbucks.What is it about Starbucks that makes it a place for city officials to use it for receiving kickbacks or bribes. For here is another instance of the same thing happening in Miami-Dade County. Maybe Starbucks should offer corrupt public officials some coupons.(Cue the sarcastic laughter)
At one point, one of the men reaches into his pocket, takes something out and places it on the table. The other man picks it up and places it in his own pocket.
Police say it was Thomas Ratner, Miami Beach chief electrical inspector, accepting a $1,000 kickback from a subcontractor.
Ratner was arrested in Key Biscayne on Wednesday and charged with soliciting a bribe.
''He used that position not for public good but for himself,'' said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle. ``He didn't want to work for the city but for himself.''
The four-month investigation began in May when David Satchell, owner of D.S. Electric, a subcontractor working on a posh condominium project, told police he had been approached by the city building official about a number of failed inspections.
Satchell said Ratner would come by the Apogee at 800 S. Pointe Dr. to inspect the electrical work before the scheduled inspection time.
Then he'd give it the thumbs down.
Ratner would then schedule a separate inspection after business hours, resulting in an ''overtime'' fee, according to the arrest affidavit.
But Ratner offered to ''make everything right,'' Satchell said -- for $1,000. Ratner allegedly asked Satchell to make a check out to his wife, Jodie Rodriguez.
But Satchell turned down the offer.
A sting was set up for May 17 at the South Pointe Starbucks, and Satchell agreed to take part.
These two episodes when combined with this story also, leaves the public wondering how widespread corruption is. For its not just the politicians we need to worry about, but everyday employees also. Is Miami-Dade County a Banana Republic?
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