Mayors family face corruption charges

admin | 2/15/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Troubles continue for Opa-lockas Myra Taylor

In an 18-page arrest warrant supplied by the State Attorneys Office, Bishop John Taylor, 67, is alleged to have said to an informant that he didnt want his wife to have any legal problems further acknowledging the [Myra L. Taylor Mayoral] Campaigns misconduct by stating his wife . . . risked being removed from office. But with Taylor, his son Demetrius, 36, and the Mayors sister, Elvira Smith, 45, all being arrested last Thursday, Feb. 9th, problems continue for the beleaguered mayor. Mayor Myra Taylor was not charged but such was not the case for the trio of family members. The charges include: making and accepting excessive campaign contributions, tampering with evidence and conspiring to violate election codes. The investigation, the latest in a string of troubles for Taylor dates back to 2004, was initiated by Miami-Dade County ethics investigator Karl Ross and Miami-Dade detective Gus Bayas, a member of the public corruption bureau. The three alleged conspirators voluntarily surrendered on Thursday, posted bond immediately and were released either late that night or early the next morning, according to the Taylor familys attorney Benedict P. Kuehne, 57. What happens next? We will investigate the accusations and determine the facts, Kuehne said. So far this is just a one-sided story based on the affidavit. I will investigate the facts and the circumstances. Generally speaking, when multiple people are charged with a crime, each has a separate lawyer. We have not made a decision on whether other lawyers will provide representation. Kuehne pointed out that his clients only face an arrest so far, as no charges have been filed. They have not gone to court nor have they seen any of the States evidence, he said. In a statement made on behalf of Bishop Taylor, his son and sister-in-law, Kuehne added, Bishop Taylor and his family members are presumed innocent and have a long track record of working for the community. They will not allow anyone to deter them from working on behalf of the greater public good. They ask the community to support them at this stressful time as they have always been supportive of the community. Former troubles could haunt Mayor Myra Taylor, who was once a city commissioner, was first elected mayor of Opa-locka in 2002. In the summer of 2004, she, along with her husband and sister, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service; she was suspended from office by then-Governor Jeb Bush. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor federal income tax charges and while she could have legally been reinstated, she chose to devote time to her private life and family-run school business. After losing a mayoral bid in 2006, she was elected to the commission in 2008 and in 2010, beat then-incumbent Mayor Joseph Kelley. In July 2010, she paid a $1,500 fine and received a public reprimand from the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission. The reprimand and fine stemmed from an investigation that revealed that she had engaged in voting conflicts by endorsing a $5,000 funding resolution that benefited a non-profit company that she headed. Mayor Taylor declined comment. By D. Kevin McNeirkevinmcneir@miamitimesonline.com