This month, he lost his freedom.
In Opa-locka politician is latest to surrender in city’s bribery scandal, the Miami Herald reported that now-former Commissioner Luis Santiago “surrendered on a bribery charge Friday, making him the fourth defendant to be prosecuted in the widening probe” of the ongoing federal investigation.
Although Santiago was the ringleader of the massive extortion scheme, he will not be pleading guilty as his three co-conspirators have done. Instead, his attorney told the Herald that Santiago “plans to plead not guilty on Friday and then sign a plea agreement at a later date.”
Roderick Vereen, who unsuccessfully challenged the corrupt Miami State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle in her 2012 bid for re-election, also said that “his client is accepting responsibility for his official misconduct but is not going to assist the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in their ongoing investigation of extortion at City Hall — South Florida’s biggest public corruption case in a generation.”
Santiago might be a criminal, but he wants you to know … he’s no rat.
In a separate, but related investigation of Opa-locka, a governor-appointed state oversight board discovered that city employees had drained the utility deposit trust account to the tune of nearly 1.7 million dollars.
The Miami Herald reported on October 7, 2016 that former Opa-Locka Finance Director Susan Gooding-Liburd, who currently works for Lauderdale Lakes, “ordered the withdrawals” from the utilities deposit account.
The currently unemployed, wannabe city manager Kelvin Baker, who was Gooding-Liburd’s boss at both Opa-Locka and Lauderdale Lakes, refused to talk to the Herald. Three days later, however, he told the Sun Sentinel, he knew nothing about the illegal withdrawals from the city’s utility deposits. He was adamant that his protégé did not engage in any “improper activities.”
Never mind that he was her direct supervisor in Opa-locka for the entire three years while this “activity” was taking place.
“So far, the Opa-locka investigations have not touched Baker,” reported the Sun Sentinel.
How long before Kelvin Baker’s luck runs out?
We’ve already connected all the dots. The FBI’s crack investigative team can’t be far behind, right?