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Miami-Dade employee gets 30 months for $13K in bribes

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In yet another sign that the federal authorities ought to be looking into all the shenanigans down here, a former Miami-Dade Public Works employee was sentenced Friday to 30 months after he accepted more than $13,000 in bribes — which included an oven and a fridge — from a county contractor in 2011 and 2012.

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George Brown’s mug shot

But George Brown, 50, got off easy. He was facing up to 10 years in prison.

Brown, who was arrested last June and pled guilty in January, will also have to serve a year of probation and forfeit $13,000. He has until May 13 to turn himself into the federal prison system. He was an 11-year employee with an $80,000-a-year salary before he was busted and fired in August.

As Miami-Dade’s roadway lighting coordinator, Brown oversaw the installation and maintenance of more than 24,000 street lights in the county’s roadway system. In 2011, a lighting contractor offered to “reward” Brown in exchange for the county’s purchase of the contractor’s products. Brown agreed and took a total of $13,000 worth of bribes in the next two years.

Among the items used to grease Brown’s wheels: a 2.5-ton A/C unmit, a Samsung stainless steel refrigerator and a KitchenAid built-in convection oven. Brown would pick up whatever wasn’t delivered to his Hollywood home at the contractor’s office in Miami.

bribery

It is unknown how or why the contractor started to cooperate with the FBI. Perhaps he felt he wasn’t getting his fridge’s worth? Anyway, he started recording conversations with Brown in which the former public servant assured him that nobody else knew about their agreement and even discussed the delivery of some of the bribes in exchange for the contractor getting a project on 27th Avenue.

He also said that he thought someone was onto him and discussed ways to hide future transactions.

Ooops. Too late.

What Ladra wants to know is how this guy gets two and a half years in the federal pen for taking a fridge from a contractor already doing business with the city while boleteros like Sergio Robaina and Deisy Cabrera get off with a year of house arrests for stealing votes from unsuspecting and vulnerable elderly?

Looks like we need the feds to start investigating absentee ballot fraud and other such cons across the county.

2 Responses to Miami-Dade employee gets 30 months for $13K in bribes

  1. F. Marrero Reply

    March 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Sergio Robaina and Deisy Cabrera are two low level pawns in the absentee ballot game. Their verdicts are inconsequential since it does not change the illicit absentee ballot fraud machine that operates throughout this county. What is truly an embarassment is the lack of oversight by law enforcement authorities, the State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
    For starters, Cabrera was working out of a campaign office that also serves as Representative Rene Garcia district office. The absentee ballot fraud was committed in that building. It was also committed in the office of County Commissioner Esteban Bovo, from where Bovo’s staff member collected, stored and subsequently mailed the illicit ballots. This illegal scheme was conducted by Campaign Manager Al Lorenzo who was managing the 2012 campaigns of both State Attorney Katherine Rundle and Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Lorenzo contracted the absentee ballot collectors who normally work for Councilwoman Vivian Cassals-Munoz.
    Cabrera was caught in possession of multiple ballots and had been filmed coming in and out of Representative Garcia’s office where she was being paid for the ballots she collected. Bovo’s staff member Anamari Pedrosa kept the absentee ballots in Bovo’s office. What this means is that both Garcia and Bovo’s offices were crime scenes where fruits of the crime were being stored and presented a wonderful opportunity for law enforcement to serve search warrants, collect items of evidentiary value and present those items to a grand jury for subsequent indictments. Of course, all of the listed public servants would have had to appear in front of that grand jury to provide testimony and that would have led to the indictment of prominent individuals. That would have been to hard to swallow for the “pillars” of our society!
    The final outcome of the absentee ballot fraud saga was that the case was covered up, only two small pawns were arrested; Pedrosa was offered immunity and provided no testimony against her boss and Al Lorenzo escaped unscathed and is now a regent at Florida International Univesity. As for ASA Tim Van der Geesen who investigated for the State, and in a combination of ineptness and malfeasance permitted this crime to be covered up, he is now Chief of the State Public Corruption Section. Free to cover up the next big case.
    At the end of the day, all the politicians, public officials and the campaign manager were given a pass and a year and a half later not many remember this shenanigan. Furthermore, don’t expect any action from the FBI in the near future, for its leadership prefers to bury its head in the sand rather than address the problem.
    If we are to live in a free and democratic society, the law should apply to all not just a specific group of people who is either poor of without resources to defend itself. The absentee ballot fraud committed by the listed individuals is despicable; however, the cover up of the crime by law enforcement the State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is a much larger affront to our dignity. By the way, whatever happened to those binders taken from Deisy Cabrera, you know the ones with names of hundreds of elderly citizens and handicapped persons who were ripped off their ballots by Cabrera, Robaina and several others? Bet those ledgers are hidden in a box in some dark basement never to see the light of day again.
    Is this truly a democracy?

  2. Domenic Reply

    March 29, 2014 at 8:44 am

    If this county employee received a 30 month sentence for his crime, we expect the court to sentence Carlos Gimenez to 300 years in prison when he gets caught for the millions of dollars in county contracts he has diverted to his friends and relatives. When will the authorities stop megalomaniac Gimenez? The back room deals, the promotion of unqualified individuals to positions of trust, the cannibalizing of county infrastructure and the work force, the vilification of public employees to balance a budget, this is the legacy of Carlos Gimenez. We recalled Carlos Alvarez for raising taxes and negotiating Marlins Stadium, Gimenez has been pushing the Dolphins agenda, he is pushing a soccer stadium to be built in expensive public land down our throats and he giving our tax monies to his friends! Is it not time to recall him as well? Mr. Braman it appears as though you have been made the fool.

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