Homestead Mayor Steven Bateman Arrested for Unlawful Compensation

Council-Bateman.jpg
Steven Bateman was led away in handcuffs by investigators early this morning.
Another city mayor in Miami-Dade has been busted this morning. Less than a month after the arrests of Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño and Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi on federal bribery charges, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office is accusing Homestead Mayor Steven Bateman of unlawful compensation.

At his home earlier this morning, detectives handcuffed Bateman in connection with a $125-an-hour secret consulting gig for Community Health of South Florida Inc., a nonprofit organization that needed the city's blessing to help expand its chain of health clinics, according to the Miami Herald.

Bateman was hired by Community Health to consult on construction projects. He has a county license to install awnings, shutters, and screen enclosures but is not a general contractor or registered lobbyist. The mayor never publicly disclosed the lucrative arrangement to his colleagues on the city council, which holds sway over CHI's plans.

He also failed to inform county officials, including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, when he personally lobbied them to fast-track a multimillion-dollar Homestead sewer system expansion that would facilitate construction of a proposed CHI children's clinic in downtown Homestead.

Bateman, 58, is running for re-election in November against several candidates, including Mark Bell, husband of his longtime nemesis Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell. Since he was first elected in 2009, Bateman has been accused of questionable behavior, ranging from allegedly covering up an accident involving his city-issued SUV to vandalizing the city-owned baseball complex leased to Miami lawyer John Ruiz's sports company.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the Miami-Dade ethics commission are also conducting separate investigations into allegations Bateman pushed for a sweetheart land deal for a school that hired his wife Donna as its real estate broker in 2011.

At the time, Bateman was running for re-election and received at least 15 contributions of $500 each from Dade Medical College head honcho Ernesto Perez and people tied to his school. According to public records, including emails, Bateman pressured Homestead government staffers and manipulated the process to help Perez purchase 3.5 acres of city-owned land -- while steering Perez's real estate transaction to Bateman's wife, Donna, a real estate broker. Dade Medical agreed to buy the property for $328,000 -- roughly one-third of its value as determined by an independent real estate appraisal.

Though the mayor abstained from the Dade Medical deal vote, he did not disclose that his wife's real estate agency would receive a commission or that she had represented the college in other purchases of downtown properties.

In an article published in this week's Miami New Times, Perez insists there was no quid pro quo. "We paid a fair price for that land given the state of the real estate market when we made the deal," he said. "I don't really know what [Bateman] did wrong when the rest of the council voted unanimously for it."

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

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26 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

who in all of south miami believes their elected representatives are honest and working hard for the best interest of thier constituency ?

how else do you think $562,ooo,ooo gets pissed away on a new stadium ?

how else does airport expansion last thirty years now ?

how else is it that the federal government had to sue to get the municipal water system funded ?    

how else are roads continually built and re-built and re-built and expanded again and again ?

KICK-BACKs and BRIBEs and financial incentives are the ONLY REASON these elected officials even get involved in politics - and with a TOURIST based economy (who don't vote here) it will always be this way = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..........NO horses were killed for MEAT in this arrest

ceelos305
ceelos305

i worked for a pub ernesto perez owns in front of dade medical, he is also buying other properties on krome avenue. he will own most of the prime real estate there soon. him an the mayor are GREAT friends and the mayor was always in there feeling up on his secretary and getting all his shit comp'd.

Lai Fern
Lai Fern

finally..Miami is sooo corrupt

Hazie Almendares
Hazie Almendares

It's sad those people who run for office are elected and are the same ones who sells out the people and the city all for money. Greed takes u no where. Would be nice to see a regular john or jane doe running for office instead of all these money hungry goons. Look at Scotty's Landing in coconut groove been there for many many years which i feel its a better version of montys just more laid back and happy ambiance and the city commission wants to tear it down for a parking garage Shula steak house and Oceania restaurant.

Curtis Johnson
Curtis Johnson

A corrupt South Florida politician? I am so shocked. (Trying not to smile). Whatta bunch of bums.

Daniel Sanchez
Daniel Sanchez

Gabriella Echeverria - I live in Redland lol Another quality Soflo politician taken down whats new...Hey anyone watch the VMA's lol

Gabriel Geronimo Pedraza
Gabriel Geronimo Pedraza

Ha!!!!! He's been crooked since I can remember. Ripped off a lot of people over the years when he built houses too.

Fred Gadson
Fred Gadson

Madame State Attorney Rundle is working for her salary. She needs to continue to work for justice and rid government of all these wicked politicians...

Johnny Sterlin
Johnny Sterlin

South Florida politicians/government would make anyone puke . What a shame for our community. Hope they don't stop until they get rid of all those bad apples. We are as corrupt , and indecent as politicians of a third world country ......

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

Good point Oscar. We bitch, but at least these pieces of shits are being arrested.

verdisvioletta
verdisvioletta

What they fail to mention is that the downtown area that the College bought was a festering shit hole including a crack motel which is now emptied out. The area has improved greatly, created jobs, and become economically viable once again. He disclosed and abstained from the vote. Regarding the sewer system for CHI, what this article fails to mention is that the sewer system in that are is outdated and the CHI clinic network serves the lowest income residents. The compensation he received was far less than market rate for the work he did. He was expanding sewer for a CHILDREN'S clinic. You are going to demonize him for that? Our city has been improved by this man by leaps and bounds- although what he has done may pass as illegal under strict technicalities, our town is BETTER for having him as Mayor.  He is an overhauler, not a pocket lining crook. There has been a which hunting constituency out to get him for some time now. I guess they found their loophole. Sad. 

Oscar Sosa
Oscar Sosa

Sweet water, miami lakes now homestead.... geez at least something is getting done.

illwilled19
illwilled19

About time , when are they going after the Homestead police and the code enforcement officers ? The corruption down here is a bad as in Miami ,,,,Help!

ceelos305
ceelos305

not only that they fast tracked our liqour license among other considerations.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

back in the day we would purposely let a bad neighborhood get worse so it would DRIVE OUT any possible sane person thinking about buying an interest in the area - then buy up the whole area ourselves individually but among multiple corporations and within a few years BULLDOZE out all the homeless crackheads - making us such "heros" we could get away with almost every ordinance and zoning restriction we wanted to get changed - it's called GENTRIFICATION (go google Cabrini Green in south side chicago) - yesterdays section 8 housing project becomes todays crack house becomes tomorrow luxury high rise

it's how we use the drug element to continue the cycle of real estate profits using the same parcels over time again and again

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