Miami-Dade Officials Closing The Book On Port of Miami Scandal

Carmen Lunetta, the central figure in one of the most infamously notorious cases of public corruption in Miami-Dade history, is close to finalizing a deal that would require him to pay the county $50,000 for his delinquent ways.

The 80-year-old was once the Port of Miami director, who wielded an iron hand in squeezing contractors for illegal campaign contributions, cars, and jobs for his cronies. One year following his resignation in 1997, Lunetta was criminally charged by the federal government with stealing revenues derived from the cargo cranes at the port. In 1999 he was acquitted, but county officials sued Lunetta in attempt to recoup some of the millions of dollars he, along with businessman and crane operator Calvin Grigsby, allegedly jacked.

Twelve years later, county officials have concluded the best course of action is to settle with Lunetta. County commissioners will decide at their meeting today whether or not to approve the deal which calls for the former port director to pay Miami-Dade $25,000 this November and the balance in 2012. The settlement was first reported by Dan Ricker's The Watchdog Report.

According to a memo from County Attorney Robert Cuevas, he explains that $50,000 covers the amount of illicit funds Lunetta received directly from his malfeasance. He also added that Lunetta appears to have "few, if any resources, or attachable assets, to pay a large judgement."

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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.