Two years ago, North Miami Beach Commissionweasel Frantz Pierre went postal on a code enforcement officer when she attempted to serve him with a Notice of Violation.
In a déjà vu moment, an Opa-locka code enforcement officer has filed a lawsuit against the city and its manager, individually, under the Florida Whistle-blower’s Act, alleging “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Duress.”
As reported by the Miami Herald, after Rudolph Aikens issued code citations on a property owned by the mayor, he was ordered to void the tickets by City Manager Yvette Harrell (who just happens to be the subject of an SEC investigation for illegally tapping into a restricted account to cover payroll checks).
Not only did Aikens refuse to do so, but he also testified at a code hearing about the condition of the unsafe structure. Two months later, the 38-year veteran employee was suspended for 30 days.
Even though he contested the suspension and got his job back, Mr. Aikens was then “transferred out of code enforcement and prohibited from entering public areas of the city,” according to his Verified Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial.
But the more egregious “crime” committed by this 38-year employee was his meeting with “the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics concerning his knowledge of rampant, widespread corruption in the City of Opa Locka.” Even though the city had been notified of these meetings, apparently the Mayor and City Manager were less than thrilled that Mr. Aikens spilled the beans about “his knowledge of misuse of code enforcement, including illegal forgiveness and reduction of fines in some cases, and politically motivated enforcement in other cases.”
In retaliation for his cooperation in the ongoing federal corruption probe, Mr. Aikens claims he was subjected to an extremely hostile work environment. He was “ordered to perform manual labor, including cleaning up garbage and standing in the hot sun for hours,” and was taunted on Facebook with videos and photos of him. His lawsuit also alleges that the City Manager continued to publicly abuse, humiliate and degrade him, telling him that “he was no longer a useful person and had no value to the city.”
Even more shocking, Mr. Aikins claims that Harrell banned him and his grandchildren from “public locations within the City,” despite the fact that he is also a resident and “citizen” of Opa-locka.
When he advised her that he was protected as a whistle-blower, Harrell stated “in the presence of others, that she did not care about provisions of the personnel manual, including whistleblower, and that the Commission had given her the full authority to do whatever she wanted.”
In other words, she had the blessing of the Queen of Corruption herself … Mayor Myra Taylor.
Mr. Aikens is seeking damages from the City of Opa-locka and City Manager Yvette Harrell for their intentional infliction of emotional duress by “willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton” conduct, “in complete disregard of the rights of the Plaintiff.”
It’s no secret that the City of Opa-locka is one hot mess. Former City Manager David Chiverton, ex-Public Works Director Gregory Harris, former Commissioner Luis Santiago, and the Mayor’s son, Corleon Taylor, have all pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption charges. Chiverton, Harris and Taylor are currently “guests” of the federal prison system, while Santiago is still awaiting sentencing.
You’d think that with a federal investigation still looming large, Opa-locka city officials and politicians would be on their best behavior. Instead, they continue their shamelessly corrupt ways as if they are above the law.
Mayor Taylor and City Manager Harrell have obviously conspired to make life a living hell for employee Randolph Aikens.
Hopefully, he will receive justice in the 11th Circuit Court.
And hopefully, Taylor and Harrell will eventually receive theirs in the United States District Court.