Miami Beach Must Face Corruption Problems On Its Own, Says Inspector General

Categories: News
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Last summer -- fresh off a corruption raid by the FBI -- the City of Miami Beach asked Miami-Dade Inspector General Chris Mazzella to help investigate its shady deals. This week, Mazzella gave the city an answer: Thanks, but no thanks. Mazzella tells New Times that his office simply doesn't have the resources to help clean up the island, which has had more than a dozen employees busted for bribery in the past five years.

"I didn't believe that we could divert any more resources to Miami Beach to take care of their problems," Mazzella said.

See also:
- Miami Beach Fire Department Is Aflame With Corruption and Abuse

"I was disappointed," Mayor Matti Bower said of the news, which puts a serious hole in the city's plan to clean house.

Back in June, Bower and then-city manager Jorge Gonzalez laid out a four-prong plan to audit problematic agencies including fire prevention, establish a liaison between the FBI and Miami Beach Police Department, have the Miami-Dade ethics commission train city employees, and have the IG investigate corruption.

Now the IG's refusal has left Miami Beach tottering once again on three wobbly legs.

"Hopefully at some point they will be able to come in," Bower said of the IG's office. "I will keep pursuing it as long as I am here."

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Miami-Dade Inspector General Chris Mazzella
Mazzella said that Miami Beach was clearly in need of outside help, but that he didn't have the manpower to spare (the city had offered to pay for the investigation).

"Given the revelations that have emerged from just criminal cases, it certainly reveals a concern about anomalies and weaknesses that would allow this [corruption] to happen," he said.

Mazzella suggested that Miami Beach could set up its own inspector general's office, as in other corruption-plagued cities like New Orleans.

But Bower rejected that idea, worrying that any new city agency would get wrapped up in political wrangling.

"We all have our troubles," she said of city politicians. "Nobody is spic-and-span clean. So who should throw the first stone?"

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.
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6 comments
drewchesler
drewchesler

Internal Investigations with comments from the existing brass about how fortunate they are to have this person or that person doing internal investigations is a sham.  This is like sending the proverbial fox into the hen house to see whose eating the poultry.  Miami Beach is replete with corruption on so many levels that to really do it right, the citizenry must first and foremost oust the Commissioners, Mayor and every single Department Head there is and have replacements that have real credentials and truly want to change the debilitated state of affairs on the island of corruption.  Whoever has been employed at the beach the longest must be let go.  Before anything, you must cut the City Attorney loose who has allowed the worst of agreements and golden parachutes to be the norm.  To clean house is a top down approach.  Cronies and assistants have been promoted to become leaders, the City of MB is adrift with so much corruption that it has to literally gut and thrash the status quo.  I don't think any of the current measures even come close to addressing anything long term.  

nietzschele
nietzschele

Why do I see the man in the photo with a clown hat on! Scroll up again..

k3pgx
k3pgx

You know Miami Beach is still in Miami Dade County and the IG gets his funding from the County Commission. The County gets their money from property taxes so I would think that if Miami Beach wants the IG they should get the IG. After all the Beach pays plenty of taxes. I think that Mr. Mazzella should reconsider his decision.

windmichael21
windmichael21

miller is a major league journalist,sure the town needs to be clean,only justice department can do that,start by investigating jose smith the city attorney from miami beach.

internetinternet
internetinternet

Nobody will investigate the police, code, building and fire department.   Real estate property values will plummet.  Miami Beach already has thousands of botched building permits and fire inspections.  How would this situation ever be corrected?  Are you going to start knocking the walls out of buildings and looking for fireproofing?   Do you really want somebody looking into the police department when they haven't even paid out settlements for wrongful death cases?  Are you going to fire entire departments for pension fraud?  The scope of things are so out of control it is best to keep covering them up. 

k3pgx
k3pgx

It's too bad it was just about lack of resources and money. The community is a much  better place when the IG is there.

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