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North Miami Councilwoman investigated for ethics violations

Miami Times staff report | 3/20/2014, 9 a.m.

Thousands of dollars in high-end upgrades have landed North Miami Councilwoman Marie Steril in hot water with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, which found probable cause in investigating her for allegedly violating the county ethics code.

Last Thursday the group opened an investigation to determine if Steril used her position to purchase luxury counter tops and appliances worth nearly $8,000. The report said Steril insisted city staff make the renovations to her home.

According to the ethics commission, Steril asked the city staff for higher quality counter tops and appliances when the two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse was being renovated in 2011. When other buyers in the same city program asked for similar upgrades, they were told to settle with lower quality designs as specified in the renovations, the commission reported.

The incident marks the second time Steril has been investigated for financial dealings. In 2012, taxpayers in North Miami had to reimburse the Housing and Urban Development Department after Steril failed to disclose that Marie Charles-Brutus was her mother after her home was remodeled.