"People are starting to realize that they shouldn't be scared of this guy anymore," he says of Wallace. "We're going to take him down."

After years of cakewalk elections, Wallace is facing open revolt. Two political opponents including Brady have collected evidence that Wallace uses a convicted felon to manipulate votes. New Times' own interviews with several voters substantiate the candidates' claims. And a year after federal prosecutors shut the corruption case against Wallace, the FBI is once again investigating him.

Wallace denies the allegations and says he isn't aware of any ongoing FBI investigation. "For the past 28 years, I've always had more votes than my opponents in every category," he says. " I don't need to [steal votes]."

Former Homestead mayor Roscoe Warren (left), an unnamed youth, and Mayor Otis Wallace at a Martin Luther King Day ceremony.
City of Homestead
Former Homestead mayor Roscoe Warren (left), an unnamed youth, and Mayor Otis Wallace at a Martin Luther King Day ceremony.
South Dade High School teacher Israel Andrews in front of city hall last month.
Michael E. Miller
South Dade High School teacher Israel Andrews in front of city hall last month.

Brady began collecting clues to the contrary after the last election in 2010. It was his first attempt at the city commission. He had little money and no experience and was up against two incumbents endorsed by the mayor. Wallace himself was running for re-election against a South Dade High teacher and former commissioner named Israel Andrews. He had run two years before and come closer than anyone to ousting the mayor-for-life.

But when election night 2010 rolled around, Wallace thumped Andrews by 28 percent. Brady also lost, finishing third out of five candidates. Both men were suspicious of the results. More than a dozen people told Andrews that they had requested absentee ballots but never received them. One man, Charles Hodge, showed up at the polls on Election Day and was turned away — someone had already voted under his name.

"That was the first hint that there were votes cast that weren't legal," Andrews says. He filed a lawsuit claiming widespread voter fraud, especially among absentee ballots. In a mayoral election decided by just 256 votes, dozens had voted when they were ineligible, scores of eligible voters had been deprived of their vote, and absentee ballots had even been sent to the homes of people in jail, he argued.

Challenging the results would cost at least $50,000. "I would have emptied out my 401(k) and my kids' college funds to do it if I had been sure that we'd win." Instead, Andrews dropped the suit.

Brady didn't take his loss lying down, either. He requested election records and then went with his father, a local pastor, door-to-door to ask people if they had voted. "People kept telling me: 'I voted, but I don't know who I voted for. Tim voted for me,'" Brady says.

"Tim" is Tim Milton, an electioneer working for Wallace who has been convicted of multiple counts of battery on a police officer, cocaine possession, and trespassing. Brady and his dad say Milton filled out ballots for at least a dozen elderly voters, sometimes in exchange for a Christmas turkey, and that Wallace paid the ex-con $3,500 for his work. Brady says he has handed all the information on Milton to the FBI.

New Times spoke with two Florida City residents who admitted Milton filled out their ballots.

"Tim came by about three weeks ago," elderly voter Mattie Strickland said. "He came by my house and talked to me. He filled it out for me."

"Tim Milton was here in his red truck," Evelena Smith echoed. " He fills it out because I had a stroke and I don't focus too good. He just gives suggestions."

New Times also confirmed the FBI is investigating the alleged fraud. Kevin Mays, who works as a guard at Turkey Point Nuclear Plant, laughed when a reporter knocked on his door. "Seriously? The FBI were just here last week," he said, parroting what several other nearby voters said. "They asked if anybody offered me a bribe for my vote."

Back on the corner of Lucy Street, Brady is still flagging down cars and passing out flyers half an hour before polls close on election night. Ten yards away, Milton stands in the middle of the road campaigning for Brady's two competitors, both Wallace allies.

"You can get away with murder here as long as you're on Wallace's team. But we have people that admit he filled their ballots out," Brady seethes.

Confronted by New Times, Milton denies getting paid by Wallace to fill out absentee ballots.

"Don't come asking me nothing about that shit. I'm volunteering," he says. "The only thing I do for old people is help them."

Then Milton shouts, "They're calling them motherfucking people, telling them: 'Tim be doing this or that.' This is about winning. Accept your ass-whoopin', man."

An hour after the polls close, Brady walks out from beneath city hall's monstrous clock tower. He's just a silhouette, but the results are etched in his slumped shoulders.

"We lost," he says, blinking his eyes in disbelief. "We lost bad."

Gayle Marshall hobbles into her apartment in the Jubilee Courtyards housing project in Florida City and painfully sits on a couch next to a giant, fading TV set. Boxes of candy and jars of pickled eggs are spread on a table. Marshall sighs and says she doesn't know whether her brother is as corrupt as people say, but she surely knows what he did to her.

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11 comments
g3j5
g3j5

what if he had her son killed... and if u stay in Florida city you know how this shit is they jus start building shit down here lol them ugly ass trees they put up that nigga pocketing all the money put his sister out and he got millions talkin bout he be at the football games he should be at every game its fuckin 120$ to play this shit is corrupt down here only thing the police do is ride around and fuck hoes

Pj3x71
Pj3x71

Mayor Otis Wallace is a very honest hard working man that i have none for quit some time. I meet him when my kids start playing football at the park, where he spend lots of hour cheering and supporting our kids.Continue doing your job that you have done so well..... I here the same guy that went to the FBI is also a convicted felon himself, that also sold and use drugs himself...

runrandrand
runrandrand

WHY IS THIS USELESS STORY IN IT'S THIRD WEEKEND CYCLE? THE NEWS IS EVEN SLOWER THEN THE DAYTONA RACE START THAT WASN'T-----! MAYBE THE HERALD PRESSES SHOULD INK UP AND START PRINTING COUNTERFIT MONEY TO HELP THE BANKRUPT CITY---WHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Hym
Hym

Damn! The New Times sure does have a way and a tone to how they write these character assassinating stories. I have never met Mr. Wallace and even though I did not graduate from high school, I can read. I can definitely read through this bull and see that the New Times failed to substantiate the title of the article. Other than putting his sister out of the house, the story reads like a desperate attempt to sell newspapers. I must admit though, it was entertaining.

Dannykeehan
Dannykeehan

Martin Luther King will be turning in his grave. give a poor man the same job and leave it for 28 years, then at the end of it find out if he has change. i bet he will?

Joy
Joy

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jtp12
jtp12

Good job Mike Miller. If you had the time, I am sure you could uncover even more. All the land, hotel/motel, real estate transactions should be investigated in that area.This is exactly what is wrong with America today. This whole scenario infiltrates our entire system. Unfortunately, it is investigated and then nothing is ever done.We just need more good reporters like you. Power, money, and corruption. Will it ever end?

Oh, one last thing, do you have a bodyguard?

husterredt
husterredt

typical in Florida City & Homestead, corruption is everywhere, Bateman is not far behind, actually he is partners with Wallace, Berrones and Henschel, its about time the FBI looks intoit..Good Job, Get them all!!!!!!!!!!!

Kcgriefs
Kcgriefs

So since he makes an appearance at a park filled with constituents he is corruption free? I am not sure what is weaker, your spelling or your logic.

Bebep
Bebep

A desperate attempt to sell their FREE newspaper.

Congratulations on not graduating high school.

Ash
Ash

You might be able to read but perhaps you have a problem with comprehension. It's sad because he did many admirable things (as this article points out). He couldn't resist the temptation of corruption. He's slippery but they all get caught eventually.

 
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