Recently dismissed ethics complaints against three lobbyists provide a glimpse into how
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developers will pay off so-called community activists to win support for their projects.
Turns out that Mayol "did not disclose $30,000 paid to South Miami-Dade community activist Kentward Forbes to bring speakers to public meetings to show support for the projects," according to a December 9 press release from the ethics commission.
The watchdog agency further determined "that many lobbyists have interpreted current law as not requiring a listing of fees paid to community organizers as lobbying expenditures." The ethics commission sent Mayol a "letter of guidance" clarifying that he needs to list payments like the one to Forbes, a board member of the Naranja Community Redevelopment Agency, on his expenditure reports.
Developers doling out cash to community exploiters masquerading as activists is nothing new. Remember the Related Group paid $100,000 to Barbara Carey-Shuler and Barbara Hardemon for "community outreach" when the developer was seeking approval for its Mercy Hospital condo project.
It' not illegal, but it is shady as hell.