Great question, right? Francisco Alvarado of the Miami New Times reports on another major flaw in the states bribery case against former City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones in today's edition of Riptide. Apparently Armando Codina, the states key witness against Spence-Jones is alleging that the assistant state attorney prosecuting Spence-Jones was somewhat less than honest about the facts of the case during his deposition which yielded the most injurious testimony against the former commissioner. From the New Times article...
In a deposition taken this past February 16, Codina -- a former business partner of Jeb Bush -- implies that Miami-Dade State Attorney Richard Scruggs misled him into believing Spence-Jones stole $12,500 he had donated for an event honoring former County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler.This isn't the first time this has happened during the states quest to put Spence-Jones behind bars, just a few months ago we learned that Barbara Carey-Shuler, another key witness in a separate case against Spence-Jones suddenly remembered during a deposition that the allegations she made about Spence-Jones forging a letter authorizing the release of $50,000 to her company were untrue and in fact the letter was genuine. Once again, from the New Times article...
"Whose handwriting is that?" Raben asked Carey-Shuler. "It's mine," she replied.So now what? The testimony that was the cornerstone of both of the states cases against Spence-Jones just went up in smoke as both the key witnesses claimed that they were
When Raben quizzed her if the final version -- the one prosecutors alleged was a forgery -- was "genuine," Carey-Shuler said: "That's correct."
Let's not forget though that the minute the charges were announced against Spence-Jones there was a press conference followed by Governor Charlie Crist immediately suspending her from her position as commissioner. Keep in mind that between the two cases Spence-Jones was accused of stealing roughly sixty to seventy five thousand dollars through her alleged nefarious activities.
Now, fast forward a few months to the Veldora Arthur federal mortgage fraud indictment, she's charged with participating in a scheme to defraud banks out of nearly ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS and she's still got her job at the city collecting a hefty $300,000 per year?! Not to mention that there was no press conference, no press release, nothing other than news of the indictment on some local blogs!
What gives here folks? On one hand we have a popular commissioner who was elected to her position by a landslide victory who immediately loses her job after being accused of stealing approximately $75,000 and on the other hand we have another city employee who's federally indicted for a massive eleven million dollar fraud and she's still got her job? Even worse, a job where she's responsible for handling financial matters for the City?
Why does Veldora Arthur still have her job? Why hasn't she been immediately suspended without pay as Spence-Jones was? Why the double standard? The best the City of Miami Fire Department could do when asked why she wasn't suspended was this lame statement from their spokesman Ignatius Carroll...
"this has nothing to do with her role as fire chief...our guys don't carry guns"She may not carry a gun, she carries the fire departments checkbook!