Repeating the same vote pattern that got them into trouble this week with a $250 million biopharmaceutical park that never got built by Dennis Stackhouse, a developer labeled by the Miami Herald as the "Poverty Peddler," the Miami-Dade County Commission voted 11-2 today to hand over another big fat check to a really tall guy in a medieval helmet. Promising to build a "shrubbery farm" for Liberty City, the Knight Who Says "Si!" told the commission all he needs to get things rolling is a check made out to Kash (his first name) for a measly million dollars. Aside from commissioners Sorenson and Martinez who voted against the proposal (as they did with the biopharmaceutical park scheme), commissioners couldn't wait to cut Kash a check and were seen stumbling over themselves for the requisite picture chronicling their professionalism. Standing L to R: County manager George Burgess (who also backed the earlier scheme), Dennis C. Moss, Bruno A. Barreiro, Carlos A. Gimenez, Javier D. Souto, Barbara J. Jordan, José "Pepe" Diaz, Natacha Seijas, Audrey Edmonson, Rebeca Sosa, Sally A. Heyman, Dorrin D. Rolle.
UpDate (8/13/07): The Herald reports today that a consulting firm connected to a botched biotech park received $75,000 in tax money nearly a month after the county killed the project and days after police raided the developer's home and business. Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust had already invested $3 million into the project when it requested $75,000 more from the county to pay MediVector Inc., a Massachusetts company slated to become the park's anchor tenant. Either people who work in the department that signs these kind of checks don't read the Miami Herald or possibly didn't get a memo from George Burgess because nothing stopped them from cutting a check. According to the paper, the county had no legal obligation because the contract with the Trust was terminated July 10th. And so it goes.
UpDate (9/25/07): Stackhouse is arrested today for felonies that he reimbursed employees for campaign contributions to a county commissioner (Dorrin Rolle), and an unnamed judge and a gubernatorial candidate.
UpDate (12/02/08): Stackhouse pleaded no contest Monday to charges that he bundled campaign contributions to a Miami-Dade commissioner, a former county judge and a candidate for governor. In exchange for the plea to five third-degree felonies, Stackhouse was sentenced to 12 months probation and 15 hours of community service. Because he doesn't have a prior criminal record, the charges would not have netted him prison time even had he been tried and convicted. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas withheld adjudication, meaning Stackhouse will not have a criminal conviction on his record. A hearing was set for Dec. 16 to determine how much Stackhouse should reimburse the county for the investigation's cost.