By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Trust board members New Times contacted seemed generally out of touch. Board Chair John T. Jones did not return three calls for comment. Tony Crapp Jr. said he resigned last month because he was too busy to attend meetings. Beverly Kovach left two months ago because her husband died. And Arthur Barnes declined comment.
County Manager George Burgess and Commissioner Dennis Moss, who once served on the trust board, also didn't return calls.
MMAP is unraveling against the backdrop of state attorney investigations that stretch into both county and city hall. In 2005 the organization gave $75,000 to the Yellow Moon Salon and Day Spa in Liberty City, which is owned by the brother of Commissioner Spence-Jones. The second-in-command at MMAP, a man named John Dixon, was the former director of the Black Business Association — a group that allegedly gave money to Spence-Jones to organize a concert while she was an urban affairs advisor for Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.
The state attorney is investigating all of those transactions, sources say, and Spence-Jones is on the brink of being indicted.
MMAP's troubles have been hinted at in the Miami Herald, which has run vague stories but failed to name names. The Miami Times covered the situation a bit more thoroughly but also missed the most scurrilous claims.
Seven months ago, employee Relations Director Allen clearly foresaw the mess that's now unfolding when he wrote, "There are several allegations involving issues of mismanagement and malfeasance at MMAP's housing division. These are issues that cannot be adequately investigated by [employee relations] staff and, given the seriousness of the charges and the statements made by some of those involved, clearly warrant further investigation by other law enforcement and/or investigative services."