And another one down! Opa-locka official does the perp walk.

perp-walkLast month, an Opa-locka commissioner lost his seat on the dais.

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.

Alrighty then.

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?

Just saying.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. marc cooper says:

    Vereen is not acting in santiago’s best interest. Vereen really represents Dante starks, an as yet unindicted power broker. Santiago is too stupid to figure out thst his attorney has advised him not to cooperate bc cooperation would mean shitting all over Verern’s real client, Starks. Welcome to miami-style conflicted attorneys.


  2. Aletheia says:

    If Gooding-Liburd ordered the withdrawals on her own…then she should be charged. But the more likely scenario is that Baker encouraged or directed her to do it. Either way…how in the hell is a woman who’s under the cloud of a criminal investigation still employed as a Finance Director at the dysfunctional City of Lauderdale Lakes? Are they all brain dead in this pathetic excuse for a city?…especially after what they’ve been through the last few years…with inept and crooked city managers, a $9 million unpaid BSO debt and a $2.5 million CRA fund shortage! The stupid and/or corrupt never seem to learn their lessons!


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Most likely they’re brain dead. It’s apparently a thing these days.


      1. TC says:

        Or also involved….


  3. […] that time former Opa-locka Commissioner Luis Santiago insisted he would not plead guilty to bribery […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *