SEPTEMBER 05, 2007
A Florida Congressman helped a shady developer with a troubled past get millions of federal dollars for a flawed inner city project while his mother was a highly paid consultant for the developer.
Democrat Kendrick Meek, who represents Miami’s neediest neighborhoods in the U.S. House, claims he didn’t know that his mother was receiving tens of thousands of dollars and a luxury car from the crooked developer when he pushed to get public funding for a project in Liberty City, a predominantly black and poor section of Dade County.
Meek’s mother, Carrie Meek, had spent a decade in Congress as one of Florida’s most influential black lawmakers and her friendship with the Boston developer opened plenty of doors in south Florida. Claiming to be unaware of his mother’s relationship with the developer, Kendrick Meek said he simply wanted to help the rundown neighborhood he grew up in by bringing in a $250 million biopharmaceutical park.
Instead, his effort ended up wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a project that will never be completed because he blindly supported a well-connected developer (Dennis Stackhouse) with a delinquent past and no experience constructing such high-tech facilities.
A three-part series in south Florida’s largest newspaper features the outrageous details of how an influential legislator looking to invigorate the needy neighborhood he represents in the U.S. House instead helps a corrupt businessman steal taxpayer dollars, including $500,000 from a county poverty agency.
Incidentally, Carrie Meek, the popular former legislator who supposedly cares deeply about the poor neighborhood she once represented in Congress, has a street named after her just blocks from failed project. Besides a lucrative “consulting” fee and fancy vehicle, Carrie Meek also gets a 2,600-square-foot office rent free from the developer.
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