Mr. Bailey's Neighborhood

Miami's northeast side is in trouble, and city housing boss Herbert Bailey has eagerly pitched in to help. Personally. On his own time. With his own money. An investigation is underway.

Also unexplained is the mysterious four-month lapse in listing the property transaction among public documents. Realtors and title attorneys agree a delay that long is unusual and almost inexcusable, but can't say why it would have happened. Maynard Hellman, the Coral Gables attorney who handled the title work for the Bailey-Clark purchase and who might have had an answer, did not return phone messages.

Whatever the explanations, Bailey now faces increased scrutiny of his actions and inquiries into whether they constitute a conflict of interest or worse. City Manager Odio says he wants answers. He hopes to get them soon from the prestigious accounting firm Deloitte & Touche, as well as from the Miami Police Department's Internal Affairs office. Though he won't discuss particulars of any investigations, Odio has this to say: "I take the complaints seriously and I am pursuing this. I have told an outside auditor to go immediately [to the housing department]. The whole unit will be audited, and when that's completed, we'll come up with recommendations.

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