Two stories from Sunday

These two stories of corruption in local government caught my eye.

The first one is by the Miami Herald “Robaina at center of Hialeah’s ‘shadow banking’: Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina has played a central role in the city’s ‘shadow banking’ world, where loans get made at double-digit rates, far above the limits of regulated finance. What grabbed me is Pensacola has a similar system that operates below the radar, but may have similar issues about political control and power brokering. We know that several local businessmen, including W.D. Childers, loaned Commissioner Willie Junior money often. This MH story could be a harbinger of what come to past here as these shadow loans go unpaid. Read more.

The other is by Sarasota Herald Tribune ” Sarasota worker had earlier contract controversy”:Sarasota County employee Rodney Jones helped steer lucrative government contracts to an old friend. Based on his recommendation, the county awarded a no-bid emergency contract to National Pipe Services during Florida’s catastrophic hurricane season in 2004. Jones would later go to work for National Pipe, but later came back to the county. A local contractor has filed suit saying he was put out of business because of the favoritism Jones gave his buddies. Jones is charged with accepting $15,000 in illegal gifts from a contractor in an unrelated case. There were a lot of no-bid contracts passed out in Escambia County after hurricanes Ivan, Dennis and Katrina. Read more.