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| Columns |

Inspector General Gets Busy Cracking Down on Small-Time Rackets

This past Friday, Miami-Dade inspector general Christopher Mazzella announced his office had busted ex-schools police Sgt. Patricia Hobby stealing $2,841 in overtime she didn't work.

To avoid jail time, Hobby agreed to resign from the schools police force, complete 150 hours of community service, and repay the money she didn't earn.

But nothing happened to Campbell Drive Middle School principal Evonne Alvarez, who signed off on the false overtime for Hobby.

According to the inspector general's report, Alvarez gave investigators three misleading answers for why Hobby receieved the overtime. In one instance, Alvarez claimed Hobby was needed to provide security for maintenance work being done at the school after-hours. That was not true.

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Hobby's arrest follows the inspector general's big catch this past May

when his investigators caught three enterprising employees at Norland

Senior High School who were using their work email addresses and phone and fax numbers to run a cleaning company.

Though Banana Republican applauds the inspector general's efforts, the

Miami-Dade School Board didn't approve a $1.3 million budget so

Mazzella can go around busting up

small-time crooks in the nation's fourth-largest school district.

But maybe he just needs more time. In his annual report, Mazzella says

his fraud sleuths are busy investigating large cases he

can't yet discuss publicly.

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