Third Florida mayor: Mayors in Florida just cannot stay out of trouble. It's tough to hold an honest office in Florida these days, as the Sunshine State’s record of mayoral arrests is now getting laughable. A third mayor has been arrested on corruption charges, making that three arrests within a month, reports the CS Monitor on Aug. 29.
In early August, the FBI led Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel “Manny” Marono away in handcuffs. Both men were arrested on kickbacks and bribery schemes.
Less than 30 days later, Homestead, Fla. Mayor Steve Bateman has been hauled off, arrested for posing as a third party “consultant” to the city, and getting paid quite the big bucks for his services – $125 per hour.
Bateman failed to disclose his financial arrangements. Non-profit health care firm Community Health Care of South Florida (CHI) was seeking approval from the city of Homestead for a sewer connection so it could build a clinic.
“All told, Bateman was paid $3,625 by CHI for his work, although the company had authorized as much as $120,000 in payments for a year of work, according to an arrest affidavit,” reports the CS Monitor.
Bateman was jailed but released on bond. He is charged with two felony counts of accepting illegal compensation.
Bateman’s attorney, Ben Kuehne, said the mayor was “shocked by his sudden and unexpected arrest.”
“He looks forward to his vindication,” Kuehne said. “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.”