Miami-Dade commissioners take thousands from developers they help

It's an election year, so you know what that means: People doing business with Miami-Dade County are making sure they grease up the political campaigns of their favorite incumbents.

That's how a quid pro quo works at county hall. Commissioners vote in favor of their generous pals — even if it means screwing the public. You just have to scan the finance reports for the re-election campaigns of commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Barbara Jordan to see how the skeezy system works.

On April 25, 2011, Barreiro received $500 campaign donations each from real estate developer Masoud Shojaee and three of his employees. Three companies the builder owns also kicked in another $1,500 to the commissioner's re-election drive this past September 26. Then, two months later, on November 11, Shojaee bundled $3,000 for Jordan.

What was all of that support for? Well, in October, Barreiro and Jordan were among ten commissioners who voted to grant a permit to Mexican cement conglomerate Cemex to blast for limestone rock on land owned by Shojaee — despite loud objections from neighboring farmers and environmentalists, who are now suing the county. Shojaee did not return a phone call seeking comment. Neither Barreiro nor Jordan responded to inquiries left at their campaign and commission offices.

Shojaee is not the only developer showing financial gratitude to Barreiro and Jordan. Last July 19, commissioners approved Barreiro's request to allocate a $3.7 million grant for the construction of an affordable housing project in Little Havana being built by the Related Group of Florida.

Less than a month later, on August 2, Barreiro received $6,500 from a corporation owned by Related vice president Alberto Milo and 12 companies listing the same corporate address as Related's (315 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami) This past December 30, Milo and two Related Group entities gave $500 each to Jordan, who also voted to give Related the $3.5 million.

Like Shojaee, Milo didn't respond to a request for comment about the donations.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.