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FBI Nabs North Miami Businessman, Broward Politicians on Corruption Charges

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Now this is the kind of politics we know and love in Miami.

A huge corruption probe came to a head today as the FBI announced federal charges against a Broward County commissioner, Broward school board member, and former Miramar commissioner. The sting also netted a North Miami businessman.

These could be just the first dominoes to fall in a much larger sting.

Josephus Eggelletion, a veteran Broward County commissioner, starred in the largest of the three separate probes, which also netted Joel Williams, a North Miami businessman.

According to Eggelletion's indictment, undercover agents made nice with him in March 2006 by donating $5,000 to a sketchy-sounding charity run by the commissioner. He told the agents: "If you want to do some deals in the Bahamas, let me know. Yes, sir. In fact, I'm gonna be raising some money for the prime minister of the Bahamas."

The agents were all too happy to oblige. Eggelletion soon set them up with Williams and another businessman named Ronald Owens, who flew to the Bahamas with the undercover agents.

They eventually laundered $900,000 through a Bahamanian bank account in exchange for a cut of the profits, the feds say. Eggelletion raked in more than $23,000 from the scheme, often in cash payments hidden inside leather day planners.

Eggelletion and his comrades are charged with felony attempts to launder money.

In another operation, Beverly Gallagher, a Broward school board member, is accused of taking more than $10,000 from undercover agents in exchange for steering school contracts toward their business.

Her indictment's most damning quote: "[We] can make a lot of money together," she supposedly told the agents.

Finally, the feds also nailed former Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman, who's accused of taking more than $10,000 in bribes from undercover feds while steering construction contracts -- for a park gazebo and a renovated school gymnasium -- their way.

But here at Riptide, this is our favorite line of the whole indictment:

Beginning in or around April 2005, the FBI initiated an investigation into public corruption in South Florida.

Does that mean there's more to come? Who knows, but if I'm a local politician with some dirt under my fingernails, I'm booking that midnight flight to Caracas right about now.

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