Opa-locka residents are quickly learning that elections have consequences.
Fresh from his plea deal on RICO charges, former felony defendant Terence Kenneth Pinder was given a second bite of the apple by Opa-locka voters on November 4, 2014.
Unfortunately, the newly re-crowned Commish is already causing trouble, according to a Miami Herald article posted yesterday, Opa-locka approves paying thousands in legal fees for two commissioners.
Former (and fired) North Miami Beach-slash-current Opa-locka City Manager Kelvin Baker is gonna have to work some of his infamous budget magic to scare up $15,000.00 in taxpayer money in order to keep two of his bosses out of trouble.
On February 3, 2014, Pinder’s lawyer somehow got the State Attorney’s Office to drop the three felony racketeering charges against him when he entered into a plea agreement for the remaining four public corruption charges. The deal included a sentence of two years’ probation.
But Pinder was no match for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which disbarred him “from participating in federal contracts due to his inability to make decisions about federal funds, like the multi-million dollar infrastructure project,” according to Herald reporter Lance Dixon.
Interestingly, one of Pinder’s co-defendants was Faustin Denis, Jr., of Biscayne Landing fame, who also found himself on the EPA’s “no fly” list and barred from receiving federal contracts.
And yet, the voters of Opa-locka decided none of that mattered when they gave him back his seat at the Commission Chambers table.
In return for their blind trust, Pinder thanked the residents for their support by billing them $5,000.00 to pay for his legal defense against the EPA’s charges.
Three of his four fellow Commissioners gifted him with public money to fight his private battle.
Sweet gig, huh?
Wannabe Commissioner for Life, Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes was also gifted with $10,000.00 worth of legal fees to help fight his own city’s newly enacted law that prevented him from running for (and winning) the seat he still occupies and refuses to give up.
Try not to burst out laughing.
Holmes is on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by Citizens on a Mission for Change. This group also “authored the term-limit change from last year’s ballot and believes the commissioner should vacate his seat,” according to the Herald.
As a member of Citizens on a Mission for Change, Johnnie Mae Green is one of the Plaintiffs.
As a taxpaying resident of Opa-locka, she’s helping foot the bill for the Defendant’s lawyer.
Elections do have consequences.