The third Florida Mayor this month was arrested by police at his home on Wednesday.
Steve Bateman, the Mayor of Homestead, is facing corruption charges relating to his relationship with a Florida heath care company. It is alleged that Bateman was being paid a consultancy fee of $125 per hour by the firm, which was seeking city approval for a sewer connection so they could erect a clinic in Homestead.
Apparently, the arrested Mayor lobbied city officials, as well as County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, without declaring he was being paid by the company he was lobbying for.
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who is a Miami-Dade State Attorney, told reporters: “It’s another very sad day for the people of Miami-Dade County. At no time did Bateman disclose that these contacts were done for a private employer. That should have been done.”
Bateman is the third Florida Mayor to be arrested in August. According to the arrest affidavit, even though the company had authorized $120,000 in payments to him for his consulting, he was actually paid only $3,625 for his work to date.
Mayor Bateman has been jailed and is to be charged for accepting illegal compensation and unregistered lobbying.
Ben Kuehne, Bateman’s Attorney, said his client was “shocked by his sudden and unexpected arrest,” continuing, “He looks forward to his vindication. He has served the community for many years in an honest, dependable manner. He has honestly earned every dollar he received through hard work and dedication to the public.”
Earlier in August, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono were arrested in an FBI sting operation. It is claimed that Pizzi and Marono accepted illegal kickbacks in exchange for their support of federal grant applications.
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