The Third Florida Mayor Busted For Corruption This Month Is Steven Bateman of Homestead
Aug 29, 2013 | Opposing Views | Jonathan Vankin
August is a bad month to be a mayor, at least in Florida. Not one,
not two, but three chief executives of Sunshine State municipalities
were led away in handcuffs in just the past three weeks, arrested on
various corruption charges.
The latest entry in this hit parade is Steven Bateman, mayor since 2009 of Homestead,
a Miami suburb of about 60,000 inhabitants. Bateman was arrested
Wednesday on charges that he secretly took a $125 per hour consulting
position with a health care company that was doing business with the
Bateman helped Community Health Care of South Florida, Inc., known as
CHI, in efforts to get permits for a new clinic in Homestead, at the
same time he was on the firm’s payroll, prosecutors say.
Bateman, 58, appeared in court yesterday (see photo) and was released on $21,500 bail posted by his wife.
Bateman bust comes on the heels of an FBI sting operation that on Aug. 6
nabbed the mayors of Sweetwater and Miami Lakes taking suitcases and
envelopes stuffed with cash. Federal prosecutors allege that the two
mayors, Manuel Maroño, 41, of Sweetwater and Michael Pizzi, 51, of Miami
Lakes, not only took bribes in exchange for helping businesses apply
for federal grants, but they plotted together to siphon off a share of
the grant money for themselves.
While those two mayors suffered
the humiliation of being arrested at their mayoral offices, state law
enforcement officials showed up at Bateman’s home yesterday, where he
refused to answer the door for 20 minutes. When Bateman’s wife came home
and entered the house, police were able to get inside and put the mayor
Bateman’s lawyer said he was taking a shower.
sordid scenes are nothing new for the state of Florida. From 2000-2010,
no state saw more public officials convicted on corruption charges,
according Justice Department data cited in a study by the nonpartisan
research group Integrity Florida.