Art Teele is a man of very big appetites, and because of them he is now in very big trouble. As the investigative report below indicates, the once-powerful politician is possessed of a seemingly insatiable craving for all things illicit -- adulterous sex, illegal drugs, bribery and extortion.
Three weeks ago the U.S. Attorney charged Teele with 26 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering -- all arising from schemes at Miami International Airport. Those allegations followed earlier criminal charges brought by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. On March 2, Teele was convicted of threatening a police officer after confronting undercover cops who were shadowing him as part of the corruption investigation reprinted here, which resulted in ten felony counts of unlawful compensation. An October trial date has been set in that case.
The Teele investigation was initiated by the State Attorney's Office, which used Miami-Dade Police Department detectives to do the legwork. Police reports generally do not make for lively reading. This one is different. It reads like a work of fiction. And for many people who thought they knew Arthur E. Teele, Jr., the report may as well be fiction, for it's hard to believe one man could inhabit so many different personas, live so many different lives simultaneously.
The dispassionate tone of the writing -- authentic cop talk -- only heightens the reading experience: understated but over-the-top. Less than half the full report is presented here, and although it has been edited and rearranged for easier understanding, the words are those of the police themselves, principally Det. Juan Koop of the department's Public Corruption Investigations Bureau.
CASE NUMBER: PCIB 03-111.047
Investigation into allegations of corruption within the City of Miami's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) began on December 12, 2003, when Assistant State Attorney (ASA) Richard Scruggs requested that the Miami-Dade Police Department's Public Corruption Investigations Bureau investigate allegations made by City of Miami Auditor General Victor Igwe. On October 22, 2003, Mr. Igwe published an in-depth audit of the CRA detailing suspicious expenditures, questionable hiring practices, and irregular business transactions. In response to ASA Scruggs's request, detectives from the Public Corruption Investigations Bureau examined the allegations in Mr. Igwe's audit report.
The suspicion of criminal acts was confirmed when the target of an unrelated corruption investigation, Evens Thermilus, was charged and subsequently agreed to testify truthfully concerning the CRA investigation. This investigator has spent dozens of hours interviewing Evens Thermilus and analyzing documents, which he has provided. As stated in previous reports, Mr. Thermilus pled guilty to one count of Organized Scheme to Defraud in an unrelated investigation involving corruption at the Miami International Airport. Mr. Thermilus entered a plea of guilty pursuant to a plea agreement that required that he testify truthfully concerning his knowledge and/or involvement in any illegal acts by any public officials or government employees.
On July 7, 2004, at approximately 7:00 a.m., a surveillance was established at Plaza Venetia located at 555 N.E. 15 Street, Miami, FL, the residence where City of Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele resides. The surveillance was conducted by Sergeant J. Plasencia, Detective J. Koop, Detective M. Martinez, Detective B. Guerrero, and this investigator (Detective L. Gonzalez).
7:00 a.m. Detective Koop observed Commissioner Teele's dark blue Buick Park Avenue parked in the valet area of the Plaza Venetia.
1:22 p.m. Sergeant Plasencia observed Commissioner Teele leaving the Plaza Venetia in the Buick Park Avenue.
1:30 p.m. Detective Guerrero observed Commissioner Teele arrive at 4646 N.W. 17 Avenue, Miami. The commissioner, who was wearing a gray colored suit, exited his vehicle and entered the Band Box Barber Shop.
1:52 p.m. Detective Koop observed a black Ford Explorer with a police blue light on the dashboard arrive at 4646 N.W. 17 Avenue, Miami. A black male wearing a green colored suit with a white shirt exited that vehicle and entered the Band Box Barber Shop.
2:00 p.m. Commissioner Teele and the black male exited the Band Box Barber Shop and walked over to the Park Avenue. Commissioner Teele opened the rear door and retrieved documents, which he gave to the black male. Commissioner Teele and the black male had a brief conversation and they left the area in their respective vehicles.
2:23 p.m. Detective Guerrero observed Commissioner Teele arrive at city hall. Commissioner Teele parked in front of the building and proceeded to enter.
5:45 p.m. The surveillance was discontinued from city hall.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Scruggs provided these investigators with a brief overview of specific incidents that he believes are very suspicious in nature and are most likely to result in a criminal prosecution.
The CRA purchased five different parcels of land and constructed parking lots on these lots. Since the day these parking lots were constructed, they appear to have never been used. There is no apparent reason as to why these parking lots were constructed because there is no shortage of parking and no buildings to justify the additional parking spaces. Also adding to the suspicion of wrongdoing is the fact that parking lot #5 was sold for $50,000; however, it cost the CRA a total of $150,000 to build.
There have been several properties purchased by the CRA in the Overtown area where the buildings have been razed and the vacant land has not been utilized.
There have been several questionable expenditures in the entertainment district, such as a $50,000 grant given to Club Space for what was described as a "water hook-up." Shortly thereafter the DEA made numerous drug-related arrests inside the club, which resulted in the closure of the business.
The CRA purchased the Divine Mission Church for $250,000; however, the church was appraised at $150,000. After the Church was purchased, the tenants were evicted and the building remains unoccupied and is a haven for drug users. Furthermore, there was no apparent reason as to why the church was actually purchased.
The CRA made several questionable loans. One loan in particular in the amount of $100,000 was made to the Greater Bethel AME Church. There are no loan agreements to document this loan. When the CRA was questioned regarding this transaction, they simply stated that the loan has since been satisfied; yet there are no records to show that the loan was actually repaid.
The CRA hired numerous personnel through A-1-A [Employment] Agency with questionable backgrounds and dubious duties. One particular employee, Catricia Alphonse, has a prior arrest record for prostitution and is a dancer at the Goldrush club. One of her stated functions within the CRA was to count taxicabs in the area of the Goldrush club.
Pierre's career with the CRA began on August 6, 2001. Her initial position was administrative assistant and later the executive assistant to the executive director. Pierre believes that the CRA hired employees with big titles, but they lacked the knowledge or ability to perform their individual jobs.
Pierre stated that she was instructed to hire Catricia Alphonse by Commissioner Arthur Teele in order to help with the Clarin Lakay Little Haiti Art Exhibit. Pierre stated that she used all available resources to locate Catricia Alphonse; however, she was unable to do so. Pierre eventually informed Commissioner Teele that she could not locate Alphonse. Pierre stated that although she was not able to locate Catricia Alphonse, Ms. Alphonse appeared at a meeting pertaining to the Clarin Lakay Little Haiti Art Exhibit with Commissioner Teele. Pierre stated that this was the first time she had ever met or seen Alphonse and believes that Teele notified Alphonse of the meeting. Commissioner Teele instructed Pierre to hire Alphonse through A-1-A [Employment] Agency.
Pierre stated that she had repeated problems with Catricia Alphonse, such as time sheets, unauthorized use of a city-owned vehicle, inappropriate clothing attire, and complaints from other staff members. In addition, Catricia Alphonse consistently complained about her pay and position within the CRA. Apparently Alphonse believed she was hired at a higher position and pay than what she actually held. When Alphonse threatened to take her complaints to Commissioner Teele, Pierre stated that she encouraged Alphonse to do so. Pierre, however, is uncertain if Alphonse did because Commissioner Teele never called her to address any complaints.
According to Pierre, it was a common rumor that Catricia Alphonse was having an affair with Commissioner Teele. Pierre also stated that Commissioner Teele was very upset when Alphonse was fired.
Miami Auditor General Victor Igwe
Mr. Igwe stated that prior to initiating his audit, Catricia Alphonse called him at work and advised him that Commissioner Arthur Teele wanted to meet with him at Shula's Steak House in Miami Lakes. Mr. Igwe, however, stated that he never met with Commissioner Teele.
6:00 a.m. Surveillance was established at Plaza Venetia, where City of Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele resides. It should be noted that below times are approximate.
6:55 a.m. Detective White observed Commissioner Teele wearing a grey suit coming out of the lobby of the Plaza Venetia. Commissioner Teele was carrying two pieces of large luggage. Commissioner Teele went into the driver's side of his blue Hyundai and retrieved something. Commissioner Teele then entered into the driver side of a 1998 gold Land Rover (registered to Francesca Beaumelou), also parked in the valet area. It is unknown if the luggage was placed inside the Land Rover. There were no passengers in the Land Rover.
7:07 a.m. Commissioner Teele pulled into a Shell gasoline station located on 7th Avenue and NW 20th Street and fueled up the vehicle. He remained there until 7:14 a.m.
Mrs. Francesca E. Beaumelou said that she was in the process of selling the above vehicle to Commissioner Arthur Teele for his wife, Stephanie Kerr Teele. She related that she had known Commissioner Teele since she was sixteen years of age because her mother, Graziella Z. Cripps, used to be neighbors with him in Nassau, Bahamas. She said that her mother kept in contact with Commissioner Teele and decided to call him to let him know that she was moving out of the country.
Mrs. Beaumelou informed this investigator that her mother told Commissioner Teele that she had signed her vehicle over to her daughter to sell. He subsequently told her that he would buy it. She advised that she made a bill of sale on July 21, 2004, and Commissioner Teele paid her mother $6,000 on the day she left the country. She believed the payment was made in cash. Mrs. Beaumelou provided this investigator with a draft of the bill of sale and stated that she is still waiting for Commission Teele to give her a signed copy. She also advised that the commissioner agreed to make two additional payments of $3,000 for a total purchase price of $12,000. She advised that although the commissioner still owes her money on the vehicle, she provided him with both sets of car keys and allowed him to take possession of the vehicle. She stated that she had tried to contact him to try to get the signed bill of sale from him, but he has not returned her telephone calls.
7:20 a.m. Commissioner Teele arrived at 1000 NW N. River Drive (gated building) and parked in front of the pedestrian entrance gate. He exited the vehicle and appeared to be using a key to enter through the gate and into the building.
7:43 a.m. Detective White observed Commissioner Teele exiting the building via the pedestrian gate carrying a manila envelope. He entered his vehicle and departed.
7:47 a.m. Commissioner Teele arrived at Jackson's Soul Food Restaurant located on 3rd Avenue and NW 10 Street. He parked his vehicle in front of the restaurant on 10th Street and remained inside the vehicle. Sergeant Plasencia observed a black female (B/F) wearing a red shirt, believed to be Shirlene Ingraham, enter the Land Rover and sit in the front passenger seat next to Commissioner Teele. Commissioner Teele was observed holding documents in his hands and having a conversation with Shirlene Ingraham. It should be noted that also parked at the restaurant was an orange color Honda Element previously seen driven on 07/24/04 by Shirlene Ingraham.
8:04 a.m. Sergeant Plasencia observed the black female believed to be Shirlene Ingraham exiting the Land Rover and entering the restaurant. A black male (B/M), late 20s, wearing a white T-shirt and black pants, entered the passenger side of the Land Rover. Commissioner Teele and the B/M departed.
8:12 a.m. Detective White observed Commissioner Teele and the B/M passenger arrive at 4646 NW 17 Avenue, Band Box Barber Shop.
9:15 a.m. Commissioner Teele and the B/M drove to the area of 3rd Avenue and NW 3rd Street, at which time visual contact was lost with the Land Rover.
During the early part of the 1990s, Evens Thermilus owned and operated a construction company by the name of Urban Constructors, Inc. It was during this time that Thermilus met then-Miami-Dade County Commissioner Arthur Teele. In the latter part of 1996 Thermilus ceased all construction operations, dissolved Urban Contractors, and started a new career in the music industry.
In the latter part of the 1990s, Teele, then a City of Miami Commissioner, lured Thermilus back into the construction business with the promise of lucrative CRA and City of Miami contracts. Thermilus followed Teele's advice and incorporated a second construction company by the name of TLMC.
From the latter part of the 1990s and continuing into the early part of 2000, Thermilus and Teele established a relationship that led to many government contracts being awarded to TLMC. Thermilus paid Teele approximately $135,000 in bribes/kickbacks for Teele's authority as a City of Miami Commissioner to influence and award government contracts to TLMC.
According to Thermilus, Teele approached him in the early part of 1999 and suggested that they start "doing business" together. Prior to that time, when Teele was a commissioner for Miami-Dade County, Teele and Thermilus had also "done business" together. "Doing business" together meant that Teele, in his official capacity as a Commissioner for the City of Miami and as chairman of the CRA, would assist TLMC in getting contracts with the City of Miami and the CRA and, in return, Thermilus would pay Teele substantial amounts of cash.
0600 hours Surveillance established on the target's (Arthur Teele) residence (555 NE 15 Street).
0934 hours Target left his residence. Note: Due to heavy traffic and construction, the target was lost in the area of the I-95 entrance ramp and Biscayne Boulevard. As a result, Detective Steve White surveilled Miami City Hall while this investigator covered Jackson's Restaurant, located on the corner of NW 3 Avenue and 9 Street, Miami, Florida.
1230 hours Target #2's (Shirlene Ingraham) vehicle arrived at the restaurant (copper Honda Element).
1320 hours Target #2's vehicle left the restaurant and was also being followed by an older model green Ford driven by a B/M between the ages of 25 to 35 years old.
1330 hours Both vehicles stopped at the Marathon gas station, located at NW 62 Street and 7 Avenue, Miami, Florida. (Occupants of the Element purchased gas.)
1338 hours Both vehicles left the gas station.
1341 hours Both vehicles arrived at a residence, located at 1050 NW 75 Street, Miami (white house with green trim).
1405 hours Target #2's vehicle became occupied by an elderly male and female and left the residence.
1449 hours Target #2's vehicle stopped at the SunTrust Bank, located on the corner of NW 20 Street and 14 Avenue, Miami.
1510 hours Target #2's vehicle left the bank.
1516 hours Target #2's vehicle returned to 1050 NW 75 Street. Note: Due to several "look-outs" in the area, we maintained a very loose surveillance on the residence. At 1700 hours, the surveillance was concluded.
In 1997 Mr. Thermilus started to downsize his construction business and launched a career in the music-recording business. Thermilus named his new company "EKG Records." Thermilus stated that he invested nearly one million dollars in his new business. Thermilus also received additional money from other investors, such as Leon Butler and Carlton Adderly. Mr. Butler invested $92,000 without paperwork. This would be the first of many investments made by Mr. Butler.
Mr. Thermilus stated that Mr. Butler took him to his freighter located near the old East Coast Fisheries Restaurant [on the Miami River], where his narcotics were being transported via import/export (unknown name of shipping company) and stated, "Look at all this glitter and glamour. I come with the money and the öbling, bling' (diamonds and gold). Throwing money into a record company is like nothing to me." Mr. Thermilus additionally added that "He's (Leon Butler) not a person to be fucked with." Leonard Johnson, Lewis Puig, and Sam Ferguson of ZELA Records were investors also. (Note: Leon Butler was murdered in 2001, regarding a drug war. He was found in a vehicle near his home in Miramar. A "couple" of million dollars was discovered in the home.)
Thermilus stated that EKG Records began to flourish as he signed and promoted a group by the name of Black Haze. Thermilus stated that as Black Haze performed in numerous nightclubs throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties, their ranking on the music charts rose quickly. Thermilus stated that in addition to promoting Black Haze, he held weekly auditions for local groups. Sometime between January and March 1999, during these auditions, Thermilus discovered a very talented band by the name of Off Glass. Off Glass consisted of a group of teens between the ages of 16-18, who sang rhythm and blues. Shirlene Ingraham was the manager of Off Glass.
Thermilus stated that during this same period, Teele began to frequent some of the same nightclubs as Black Haze and Off Glass. Thermilus felt that Teele heard of his success in the recording business and wanted to be part of it. Thermilus's suspicions were realized when Teele approached him regarding the group Off Glass. Teele informed Thermilus that he had sufficient influence to arrange for Off Glass to sign a recording contract with EKG Records. Since Thermilus was aware that Teele and Shirlene Ingraham were romantically involved, he believed Teele had the influence to persuade Off Glass to sign with his company.
On April 18, 1999, a "Letter of Intent" (to contract) was completed on behalf of [Off Glass], and the group's music was played on radio stations such as HOT 105, 99 JAMZ, and POWER 96. Soon afterward Commissioner Teele telephoned Mr. Thermilus and stated, "I can make this happen." The two met at the [now-defunct] 1800 Club, where the two had a few drinks. Commissioner Teele stated that he wanted "a cut out of the deal." Mr. Thermilus offered 15%, and Commissioner Teele rejected, stating that he wanted 25% without the knowledge of Ms. Ingraham or Off Glass.
In a subsequent conversation about Off Glass, Mr. Thermilus told Commissioner Teele "the source of unlimited cash came from drug dealer Leon Butler, who came with a lot of glitter." He admitted that he advised Commissioner Teele that Leon Butler had also called Carlton Adderly, who invested between $13,000 and $17,000 in cash toward the development of Off Glass. Mr. Thermilus advised that Commissioner Teele well knew that drug dealers were involved and that EKG was "floating" (functioning and surviving) on drug money.
By Mr. Richard Scruggs, Assistant State Attorney: Mr. Adderly, could you please state your full name and spell your last name for the court reporter please?
First name is Carlton, last name is Adderly, A-D-D-E-R-L-Y, middle initial E, Ellis.
Mr. Adderly, you're presently incarcerated in Florida state prison, is that correct?
What are the charges you're incarcerated under?
For drug trafficking?
Yes, for drugs.
But drug trafficking conspiracy, is that correct?
Were you, in fact, a drug trafficker?
No, sir, I wasn't.
What exactly did you do to gain such a sentence?
You mean what type of trouble I got?
Well, actually, what happens, in so many, I guess I could say best, trying to finesse somebody out of money.
Basically, just to put it kind of more bluntly, is you stole money from drug dealers, is that right?
Basically by tricking them, talking them into thinking they were getting something they didn't, right?
Obviously that's not why we're here today, but that's what you're serving the sentence for, is that correct?
Did you plead guilty or did you go to trial?
I pled guilty.
Did you cooperate with authorities in that particular matter or that particular case?
Yes, sir, I did.
Who is that, who did you cooperate with, what entity?
Out of Broward, Broward County.
Broward Sheriff's Office?
What kind of cooperation?
I'm sorry, I take that back. It wasn't Broward. It was Coral Springs, yeah, Coral Springs it was.
Coral Springs Police Department?
Which, of course, is in Broward?
Did you testify for them?
No, I didn't testify for them.
Did you give any statement, a sworn statement?
Did you introduce them so they could do any kind of undercover work or anything like that?
Yes, sir, I did.
Were there cases made off of your assistance, were people arrested and prosecuted off of your assistance?
Arrested. Prosecuted, I'm not for sure.
But there were people arrested based upon your assistance, is that correct?
So, at least, would it be fair to say that the Coral Springs detectives that worked with you at least believed in you to the extent that they worked cases and they arrested people, right?
Now, we talked a little bit before we went on the record here, and one of the things I assured you at the time, and I'll assure you again, is that you're not in any kind of trouble with us, and as long as you tell the truth, anything you say can't be used against you. I'll tell you right up front. We have no intention whatsoever of doing that, and you have my assurance in that regard. As long as you tell the truth, then there is absolutely no problems here whatsoever, okay?
Now, I'm going to focus your attention between 1998 and 2002. Kind of give me an overview of what you were doing during that time period. Obviously you were stealing from drug dealers was part of it, but I mean what else were you doing during that time period?
I did a lot of traveling, too. Actually, in 1998 I end up investing some money to a record label by the name EKG Records.
That is money that you had obtained from drug dealers, or had you obtained that from some other source?
Some other source, yeah.
What was the other source?
Okay. I told you, as long as you tell the truth, that's not what we're here for is to get you in trouble. So the first money you invested in EKG was actually from selling drugs?
What kind of drugs were you selling?
How much was that initial investment you think, in about 1998?
About how much was it?
Probably, at that time, I probably invest around about 20,000, you know, just picking up pieces, yeah, around 20, 25,000, you know.
Now over the time period of say 1998 to 2001 or so, about how much money did you put into EKG Records?
Over 250,000, close to 300,000.
I'm sorry, you said you believe it was about 250, 300,000?
Was that into EKG or did that involve TLMC, also?
Into TLMC also.
Okay, about how much did you put in EKG of the 250,000 -- you thought it was about half and half?
Yeah, at least half of it, you know.
So you think with EKG, then you put in, let's just say, somewhere between 125, 150; that sound about right?
Realizing that is an approximate amount; you don't know for sure?
Now of that 150 or $200,000 that you put into EKG, did that all come from some type of drug activity, whether it be stealing from drug dealers or actually dealing drugs?
Yes, yes, sir, it did.
So it all came from that, right?
Now where did you keep that money before you gave it to EKG?
Well, kept some at a safe at the house.
At your house?
Where was that located?
In the Fort Lauderdale.
What is the address?
6680 NW 30 Street.
So you kept some in the safe at the house there. Was that your house?
Owned by you?
Who did you live there with?
Where else did you keep it?
I had a couple of friend girls that I kept money at their house and my main lady, as well, you know.
So you kept it at about three of the ladies' houses, is that right?
Yeah, two and my main lady, you're right.
You said that two of the ones did not know you were keeping it there, is that correct?
And your main lady did know, is that correct?
Now, EKG was, in fact, whom, Evens Thermilus, is that correct?
Was it anybody else?
That was involved?
Yes, was there another owner, principal, or was it mainly him?
Oh, just him. He just owned it, yeah.
When you gave that money to Thermilus over that time period, did you give it directly to him?
Yes, sir, I did.
Do you know what he did with it when you gave it to him?
Well, at the time, no, I didn't. Well, at one time before, Evens was behind on bills and so forth, you know, and he was losing his house, his home, and all that there, too, so I assumed that, you know, he was taking some of that money to trying to pay his bills or, I don't know, whatever. At that time I didn't know what he was doing with the money, you know.
But when you would physically hand him the money, did he have like a safe he put it in, did he put it in a briefcase, a bag, did he take it home, did he put it in the bank, I mean, if you know, any of those?
No. When I used to give money, like I said, I had give it to him a few times in a briefcase, a bag, sometimes I handed him stacks in rubber bands, all hundred-dollar bills, you know.
What Evens physically did with it, you don't know?
No. At that time, when I first was giving him money, no, I didn't know.
Let me focus your attention then into basically sometime in the year 2001, and during that time period, did Evens Thermilus introduce you to a gentleman that you first knew as Art and you later knew as Art Teele?
Can you tell me then, there were two particular occasions I want to focus on; the occasion was one at the offices of TLMC regarding a briefcase with some cash in it, and the second one was later at the office of TLMC when you delivered some cash, okay?
I want to focus on those two instances, okay?
So tell me then about the first time, whenever it was in 2001, when Evens called you and says to bring over some cash and you end up bringing it over in a briefcase. Just tell me in your own words, just describe how that all came about?
Actually, Evens called me up, right, and told me that he needed some money and he asked me -- I don't know exactly how much he had said, but I know at the time what I could have gave him, you know, because at certain, you know, like I said, like I told you earlier before, you know, the places where I keep money and so forth, and if I just go ahead and grab what I can grab, that's what I did. So I don't know exactly how much. I never really gave Evens -- if he asked me for 50,000, I don't give him 50,000; I give him maybe 45,000. I really never give him exactly, because me and Evens go so far back, and I know how he is. I know if I gave Evens 50,000, he may not need 50,000, right, for what he needed it for, because he was a gambler. He may take $40,000 and, you know, pay off what he got to pay and the other $10,000 he'll go over there with the guys and the other 10 and whatever and go gamble it. So I know how Evens was.
So you discounted it to what you thought he probably needed?
Right. So I never give him exactly what he asked for, you know.
On that particular day in 2001, he calls you on the phone?
He says, "I need money."
Do you recall an approximate amount?
I don't know. Like I said, whatever it was, again, I never take him the same amount. You know, if he said 40, you know, like I say I'll bring him 35 or whatever, you know.
Well, you said when we were talking a little while ago you thought it was approximately 30, 35. Does that sound about right?
When he called you, where was the money at that time? Did you have to go get it or did you already have it?
No, I had to go get that.
From my ex-girlfriend's house, one of my girls, you know.
So you went to her house, you got the money. What did you put it in?
Put it in a briefcase.
Can you describe the briefcase, do you recall?
Yes. It was a burgundy leather briefcase.
You put the briefcase, you said, in the trunk of your car?
In the trunk of my car.
What were you driving at the time?
I was driving a Jag, white Jaguar, 2000.
Now when you were taking the money to Evens, at that point and time, did you know what it was for?
Not exactly, not right then, but, you know, I always knew, you know, when I was giving him money then, what it was for then.
It was for construction business?
Something related to construction?
So you knew it was something related to construction?
Okay, now when you got to TLMC, that's over on 22 Avenue, right?
Why don't you describe what happens. You didn't bring the money in right away, did you?
No, no, I didn't.
Just tell us what happened and who was there?
What happened was that when I got in there, just, actually, there was a lot of people there, whatever, but just me and Evens was there at the time in the office, you know, and, you know, Art came about, and that's when Art came about and everything.
Art came in while you and Evens were there?
Right. He came in and when he came in, I end up paging Leonard cause Evens asked me -- excuse me -- Evens asked me where was the money.
In front of Art?
Yeah, yeah, and I told him it was in the car and so I paged Leonard cause I knew Leonard was there, I seen Leonard.
You mean Leonard Johnson, right?
Right, right. So I paged Leonard on the walkie-talkie and Leonard -- so I said, "Where are you?" right, and Leonard said, "I'm in the front, front of the building." I said, "All right, cool." I said, "Look in the trunk of my car, open the trunk and bring the briefcase in," and I hit the button on my keys. The trunk opened and Leonard got the briefcase and brought it in.
So now are you in Evens's office?
Right, we're in the office now.
So it's you --
Teele and Evens, or Art.
Had Evens introduced you to Art?
Yeah, he did.
He introduced you as what, his partner?
As his partner, yeah.
And he introduced Art as just Art, or did he use the last name?
No, he -- I don't recall him saying Art Teele or anything.
Did you later learn that it was Art Teele?
Yeah, later on I learned, down the line.
So Leonard brings the money in the briefcase and gives it to you, is that correct?
What happens then?
Well, we talked for just a couple of minutes, whatever, you know, nothing about construction business or whatever. You know, we just talk because, you know, Evens is a happy person, whatever, about how things gonna happen, nothing major, whatever, you know, and I end up, like I didn't stay in there and listen to what they talking about.
So you gave the briefcase to Evens?
Then you left?
That night did you have a conversation with Evens?
Yeah. Later on that night, me -- I think me and Evens went to the movie that same night. We went to the movies on South Beach and that's when, you know, we was talking and, you know, we talking about the investment and all that there, you know.
Did he tell you that he gave money to Art?
Yes, he did, yeah.
Again, not to put words in your mouth, but to paraphrase what he told you, did he tell you that it was given to Art for construction jobs?
Yes, sir, as investment, you know, because he was telling me that. You know, like I say, I respected Evens, right, because, you know, the life I was living. I was actually trying to get out that life and I thought, you know, this will be a way right here, you know, and that's why anytime he asked me for anything, I knew he was rich once before, you know, and, you know, I wanted to back out the life I was living in by just invest my money that I was doing wrong in.
So at that point, basically, you're giving money to Evens to give to Art for construction jobs and you didn't know who Art was, is that right?
So if I asked you kind of a direct question of did you know that he was paying him a bribe, you would have to say at that time no?
No, no, I didn't.
Okay. Now, there was a second time that Evens calls you and asks for money for Art, is that correct?
Now, at that point you know, I mean there was no doubt in your mind that Evens gave money to Art for construction work, is that right?
Now tell me about that second time when Evens calls and asks you to bring some money by; was that in 2001, also?
In 'round about, yeah.
About how long in relationship from the first incident?
Probably, maybe, it wasn't even a couple of days. Probably, maybe about three days.
Oh, it was right after that?
Yeah, yeah, it was back to back, yeah.
Yeah, probably about three days or so, you know. And Evens called me up on the cell phone and I forgot exactly how much he was asking me for, you know, but whatever it was, you know, I used to ride around anyway with money, a lot of money in my pocket, you know, over $20,000, you know, at least. I would at least have -- I used to not never leave the house without having $20,000 in my pocket, you know.
Don't leave home without it?
Yeah, that's the god's honest truth. I really did, you know. So at that time Evens had called me and asked me. I don't know exactly how much it was, but whatever I had in my pocket. I was close by the building already, by the office, you know.
When he called you, did he tell you what it was for?
Yeah, it was for Art.
He told you that time it was for Art?
What did you do?
Actually, he told me he needed it right then. He was talking like a favor, like, "Listen, man, this is very important," whatever, right. He said, "I need" -- I don't know if need 25,000 or 20 or whatever it was, but he said he needed a certain amount of money, and I was like, "What's up?" He said, "I need to pay Art to do something," whatever, right.
He said, "I need to pay Art?"
"I need to pay Art."
To do what?
He didn't say what, but "I need to pay Art to do something." That's what he said, you know. As a matter of fact, those was his exact words, you know, "I need to pay Art to do something," right, and I was like, "Well, Evens," I said, "I don't think I got that kind of money on me right now." He said, "What you got?" and I said, "I don't know," but I know what I had in my pocket. So whatever it was, you know, I didn't give him everything I had, you know. I probably, I know I had -- if not exactly -- I didn't have exactly $20,000 because I was out half that day, because I was out that day, I had a little female with me, buying this and that.
Who was in the car with you?
Who was with me? Let me think.
Just close your eyes and you'll see her face.
I'm gonna tell you in a minute. I can see her, but I can't think of her name. One of my ladies. Man, who was it?
Well, do you want to move on and see if it comes to you later on?
Yeah, we can. It will come to me.
Okay, so anyway, there was a lady in the car with you and we will try to work on her name, okay?
So then -- you drive to TLMC, is that correct?
You go inside?
You didn't go into the office this time, you went to a separate room?
No. Actually, when you first walk in -- have you ever been in the building?
When you first walk in the front door, there is an office right there on your left-hand side and we just called it the conference room. So there's an office right there, right, and Teele was inside the office, and as a matter of fact, Evens, both of us in the office and you can see, look outside and see cars pull up. Evens saw me, and I pulled right up in the front, and when I pulled up in the front, Evens came, you know, out of the office, right, and I waved, didn't even speak to --
You said when you came in, Evens and Art were in the conference room?
Evens comes out?
And I think you started to say you waved at Teele?
I waved, like I just spoke to him, I waved at him.
But you didn't go up and talk to him?
No, I never talked.
I went to my pocket, I gave Evens the money I had, and that was what I had in the rubber bands, you know, gave it to him, said a couple of words to Evens, whatever it was.
Did Teele see that, if you know?
Yeah. He was right -- if you see the office, all that is glass, you know.
So you did it in front of Teele openly?
So you give Evens the money, then what?
Then I left.
We just took a short break to let Mr. Adderly recall the name of the young lady that was with him that day. Mr. Adderly, I realize right at this particular moment you can't, but will you do us a favor and just think about it?
And we will get back in touch with you and I'm sure it's probably going to come to you in the middle of the night.
When was the last time you talked to Evens?
Probably a couple of days before I got arrested.
That would have been when?
So you haven't talked to Evens since 2002?
No, no, I haven't.
So would it be fair to say that there's no way that you and he could have gotten together to concoct this story about Art Teele that you just told me?
I want the record to reflect the witness is smiling when he thought of that.
I wish I would have got in touch with him, you know.
Well, I now have to ask why, since that's on the record.
Because, I mean, he could have gave me some of that money.
0600 hours Surveillance established.
0653 hours T1 [Teele] left Plaza Venetia in the Hyundai.
0727 hours T1 arrived at the Tri-Rail Station at I-95 and Hollywood Boulevard. T1 parked and an unknown black female (B/F) with a three- to four-year-old child walked over. T1 exited his vehicle and walked with the B/F and child to the train station. The B/F is described as being 19 to 23 years old, 5'03", thin to medium build, wearing blue jean pants and a blue jean/no sleeve jacket.
At this point, Detectives Bullard and White exited our vehicles and walked into the train station separately. The witness accounts of both detectives are as follows:
Bullard: T1 met with the B/F and child and walked to the train station. T1 interacted with the B/F and child as if he was very familiar with them. T1 was extremely nervous, looking around at anyone walking and at vehicles. T1, the B/F, and the child walked toward T1's vehicle, holding hands. T1 opened his trunk and was out of sight. T1 left in his vehicle, and the B/F and child remained at the station. Bullard remained near the B/F and observed her to be extremely happy with the envelope.
Bullard said hello to the B/F, and a conversation ensued. Bullard gathered the following information: The B/F was identified as Vandesha Smith, known as "Van." Van works as the manager of the spa at the Wyndham Hotel (Nassau) and resides in Nassau, Bahamas. Van was en route to Orlando to visit her sister. Van was visiting someone in Fort Lauderdale but would not disclose who. Van stated she stayed at the Wyndham Hotel on Griffin Road in Fort Lauderdale, and stated she gets the room for only $25 a night. Van requested Bullard call her at work next week. Van believes Bullard is a full-time student and a part-time employee at the University of Miami. Van stated she is not married or involved, and only has "friends." Van's son is four years old. Based on an overheard phone conversation in Bullard's presence, the child is called "CJ." CJ requires urgent medical testing for an unknown disorder. Based upon Bullard's observations, the child was violent with Van and would not listen to her commands.
White: T1 and the B/F talked as they appeared to wait for a train arrival. An announcement came over the intercom that the train was late. After about 15 to 20 minutes, T1 and the B/F with the child walked toward T1's vehicle. As they walked, T1 and the B/F were holding hands. T1 appeared very nervous, as he continually looked around at vehicles and anybody walking nearby. T1 opened his trunk, pulled out a manila colored envelope, and handed it to the B/F. T1 kissed the B/F and she walked away with the child. T1 left at 0749 hours.
0749 hours T1 left the train station and was lost due to heavy traffic on Hollywood Boulevard.
This investigator responded to the Tri-Rail Station and obtained a copy of the passenger list. An examination of the list revealed a passenger by the name of Vandette Smith who was traveling with another passenger by the name of Charon Penn. This writer obtained a copy of Vandette P. Smith's Florida driver's license. Detective Mark Bullard positively identified Vandette P. Smith as the black female who identified herself as Van at the Tri-Rail Station and met with Arthur Teele. There are no public records for Charon Penn.
At approximately 1045 hours, this investigator contacted Vandette Smith via cellular phone and engaged her in a casual conversation. The following is a summary of that discussion:
Vandette admitted that she was attracted to this investigator. Vandette stated that she was possibly coming to Ft. Lauderdale this weekend; however, the threat of the hurricane changed her mind.
Vandette wants to visit this investigator; however, her funds will be low next week. Vandette concluded by saying that she would love to come to Florida and spend some time with this investigator. Note: This investigator advised Vandette that her plane fare would be paid for if she decides to visit; however, she must notify this investigator at least one week before she decides to come. She agreed and said goodbye.
On Monday, October 11, 2004, at approximately 0730 hours, Van contacted this investigator by telephone and advised that she was in Ft. Lauderdale apartment-hunting; however, she was staying at the Wyndham Hotel in Coconut Grove. Van stated that she would be returning to her hotel soon and wanted this investigator to meet her there. This investigator agreed and the conversation ended.
Detective Juan Koop, the lead investigator, was immediately notified and subsequently assembled a team to respond to the Wyndham [Grand Bay] Hotel. This investigator had no further contact with Van at this point.
Sergeant Frank Frisenda, Detective Alex Chuckman, and Detective Dorothy Dorsett confirmed that Smith was, in fact, occupying a room in the hotel. These investigators and security director Frank Perez responded to Smith's room, identified ourselves, and served her with a duly issued witness subpoena. Smith agreed to accompany these investigators to the State Attorney's Office and give a statement concerning her knowledge and/or involvement with Arthur E. Teele, Jr.
Smith stated that she is a Bahamian citizen and lives in Nassau with her three children: 1) Ruggiers Smith, a 16-year-old boy, 2) Jay McCartney, a 12-year-old girl, and 3) Charon Penn, a 4-year-old boy. Smith stated that she does, in fact, receive financial support from the children's fathers. Smith stated that she works for the Wyndham Hotel in Nassau as a massage therapist. Smith stated that while she has never worked in the United States, her company benefits allow her to stay abroad for $25 per night.
Smith stated that she met Arthur E. Teele, Jr. in 1998 through a mutual friend, Lisa Lawrence. Smith stated that she developed a friendship with Teele over the years and speaks with him over the phone on a regular basis. Smith stated that she later became intimately involved with Teele. Smith stated that she travels to Miami on an average of twice per month. Smith stated that she spends time with Teele on an average of seven to nine times per year. Smith stated that her intimate relationship with Teele ended in the early part of 2004; however, she still speaks with him on a regular basis.
According to Smith, Teele has given her approximately $10,000 over the years. Smith admitted that Teele gave her $500 in cash when she met with him briefly at the Hollywood Amtrak station. Smith stated that she met Teele's wife, Stephanie Kerr Teele, on several occasions, both here and in the Bahamas. Smith, however, believes that their marriage is an arrangement.
11:52 a.m. Detective Gonzalez observed Commissioner Teele arrive at Miami International Airport, at which time he proceeded to enter the arrival section of the airport and park his vehicle on the curb in front of American Airlines. Commissioner Teele exited his vehicle and met with a white male wearing a polo T-shirt, light blue with yellow stripes, and jeans, and with a white female, short, dark color hair, wearing a burgundy T-shirt and beige-color pants. Commissioner Teele assisted the female and the male place their baggage in the trunk of his vehicle and proceeded to enter the vehicle. Commissioner Teele was the driver, the white male entered the front passenger seat, and the female seated herself in the rear of the vehicle.
11:54 a.m. Detective Gonzalez observed Commissioner Teele, the white male, and the white female depart MIA.
1:00 p.m. Detective Gonzalez observed Commissioner Teele arrive at 2700 SW 37th Avenue, the law offices of Terminello and Terminello.
1:10 p.m. Sergeant Plasencia observed Commissioner Teele, the white male, and the white female depart the law offices of Terminello and Terminello.
1:30 p.m. Sergeant Plasencia observed Commissioner Teele arrive at the Versailles Restaurant located at SW 8th Street and 36th Avenue. Commissioner Teele accompanied by the white male and the white female proceeded to enter the restaurant.
2:10 p.m. Sergeant Plasencia entered Versailles Restaurant and observed Commissioner Teele, the white female, and the white male sitting at a table having lunch, accompanied by attorney Louis Terminello and another white male between the age of 40 and 50, salt-and-pepper hair and moustache. They appeared to be having a discussion and were reviewing some documents.
Detective G. Bayas responded with this investigator to the Metro West Detention Center to interview inmate Frederick Davis. It should be noted that Detective G. Bayas took the original call from inmate Frederick Davis in which he was talking to Detective G. Bayas on an unrelated case. He advised that during the conversation, inmate Frederick Davis mentioned that he used to "date" Commissioner Teele.
Detective G. Bayas said the inmate advised that he saw a television news report in which they showed the person who he knew only as "Art" being booked into the jail. He subsequently learned that he was a politician in the City of Miami. Inmate Frederick Davis explained that he worked as a male prostitute and said that Commissioner Teele was a client who paid for approximately four or five sexual encounters on separate occasions.
These investigators met with inmate Frederick Davis (29), who is a black male. He stated he last resided at an unknown exact address on Texas Avenue, Orlando, FL. He advised that prior to that time he resided at 1513 Illinois Street, Daytona Beach. He stated that he did not have a home telephone number and added that he used different cellular telephones on a monthly basis. He was unable to provide any of his cellular telephone numbers.
According to F. Davis, he was arrested on May 26, 2003, by Sunny Isles Officer B. Schnell for minor traffic offenses. This investigator learned that he was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer among many other charges. He has been incarcerated since that time. He said that he had made contact with Detective G. Bayas regarding an unrelated case, which he was the victim of. He advised that while speaking with Detective G. Bayas, he mentioned that he had recently seen a television newscast in which one of his clients, "Art," was being brought into the jail. Detective G. Bayas told him that someone would respond to the jail to interview him regarding his client.
F. Davis went on to inform these investigators that he considered himself a transsexual prostitute. He stated that when he was not in jail, he always made himself out to look feminine. He denied having had any gender-changing surgeries. He added that although he considered himself to be female, he had no intention of removing his penis because he made "too much money" from using it in his prostitution activities.
F. Davis explained that he met "Art" through his friend "Larry." He advised that his friend was also known as "Stacy" or "Click" and also worked as a prostitute. F. Davis said that he came to Miami from Orlando to visit his friend, who was in the hospital with a critical gunshot wound. His friend had received the gunshot wound while working as a prostitute when a client attempted to rob him. The robbery occurred sometime during the early part of the year 2003 at Club Ice, which had an unknown exact address on NW 79 Street east of I-95. The victim succumbed to his injury sometime prior to May 2003. F. Davis related that before his friend died, he told him that he had a good client, who he had been servicing for several years and who would pay $450 per session. He stated that the client, known only as "Art," would engage in oral and anal sexual relations and would also use cocaine during the meetings. F. Davis said that he believed that the only reason that his friend gave him the referral to "Art" was because he knew he was going to die.
F. Davis said that he programmed "Art's" pager number into his Cingular wireless telephone. He said that he regularly disposes of his cellular telephone and he could not remember the number. He said that sometime around April 2003 he paged "Art" and he called him back from a pay phone. He advised that they agreed to meet at a BP service station on 183 Street in North Miami. He said that he could not remember what vehicle "Art" arrived in but said that he usually drove either a new tan Chevrolet Impala or a new dark-colored Chevrolet Malibu. He also recalled that "Art" usually had an Avis tag on the vehicle keys. He described "Art" as a large, heavyset black male with "salt and pepper" hair and gold-colored wire-framed glasses. He added that the glasses were different from the ones he saw him wearing on television on the day of his arrest.
F. Davis advised that they decided to go to a motel. He followed "Art" to a motel on Miami Beach on the beach side of the road near a car lot. He explained that since he was not from the area, he was unable to further describe the location.
According to F. Davis, once they arrived at the motel, "Art" gave him $50 to rent the room and instructed him to cover the doorway light so he could enter the room without being illuminated. He stated that once they were in the room, "Art" asked him if he had any cocaine. F. Davis told him that he did not; however, he was able to contact his friend "Peaches," who brought an "eight ball" of cocaine, which "Art" paid $180 for. F. Davis said that his friend did not see "Art" because he left immediately after delivering the cocaine to him at the door. F. Davis added that while they were waiting for the cocaine, "Art" drank a bottle of white Zinfandel wine while he watched pornographic movies on the television.
F. Davis said that they used the cocaine and he performed oral sex (mouth-penis) on "Art" and then "Art" performed oral sex on him. He advised that "Art" then requested that F. Davis engage in anal intercourse (F. Davis's penis into "Art's" anus) with him. F. Davis advised that he was paid $450 for the session. He stated that afterward, he went to the hospital to thank his friend "Larry" for the referral. He did not see him that day because the visiting hours were already over.
This investigator asked F. Davis if he could recall any unusual marks or tattoos on "Art." He could not. He was asked if he could recall any other details which might help corroborate his allegation. He said that he remembered that "Art" had some type of medical problem such as high blood pressure or diabetes. He saw "Art" taking some sort of small pills. F. Davis said that it was the nature of his business not to meddle in his clients' personal business, so he had very little conversation with him that was not related to sex.
F. Davis said that he had a total of approximately four or five similar sexual encounters with "Art." He added that they used other motels. He stated that they always engaged in oral sex on each other and, at times, "Art" would also penetrate F. Davis's anus with his penis. He said that they always used cocaine. F. Davis said that the price for the sexual rendezvous was always $450. He said that his friend "Stacy" never provided any background information on "Art." He reiterated the fact that he did not know he was a public official until he saw the television report.
F. Davis was asked why he decided to report the incident. F. Davis said that he brought up the incident as a side note during his conversation with Detective G. Bayas. He said that he did not intend to become involved in the investigation. He said that if it was not for his arrest, he would still be servicing "Art," who was becoming a well-paying regular client. He also said that he would try to find any telephone or pager number that he had for "Art" and would contact this investigator if he did.
On November 4, 2004, at approximately 10:00 a.m., this investigator received a phone call from a person who wished to remain anonymous. The caller stated that Ralph Sanchez, the person affiliated with the racetrack in Homestead, Florida, paid for Arthur Teele's car. The caller could not specify if it was a rental car or a personal car. The caller was also unable to provide a specific date and/or time of occurrence; however, the caller did state that this took place when there were items pending before the Board of Miami-Dade County Commissioners pertaining to the Homestead Speedway. This would indicate that this incident took place sometime prior to January 1, 1997, when Arthur Teele was a Miami-Dade County Commissioner. The caller could not or would not provide any further information on this incident.
On Tuesday, November 30, 2004, Investigators Juan Koop and Alex Chuckman, along with Sergeant Frank Frisenda, interviewed [former Miami-Dade aviation director and CRA consultant] Mr. Dick Judy at his home in Cedar Key, Florida. Unfortunately, Mr. Judy's memory of many events in his life has faded as a result of dementia.
May 1999: Mr. Thermilus stated that he gave $5,000 in cash to Commissioner Teele as part of their future business. Mr. Thermilus called it "good faith money." Thermilus stated that he understood that he had to "pay to play."
March 2001: Mr. Thermilus stated that he specifically remembered paying Commissioner Teele $25,000 cash because Commissioner Teele requested that amount, and "it really hurt to give that much at one time."
April 2001: Mr. Thermilus stated that he paid Commissioner Teele $10,000 in cash, which was Commissioner Teele's idea. The cash was placed in a shopping bag and given to Commissioner Teele in the kitchen at Mr. Thermilus's home.
May 2002: Mr. Thermilus stated that he paid $15,000 in cash to Commissioner Teele, and he further alleged that the payoff was tied to the CRA parking lot job.
October 2003: Mr. Thermilus stated that he paid Commissioner Teele $10,000 in cash. Commissioner Teele requested that Mr. Thermilus meet him at Charles Hadley Park in the parking lot with the money. Commissioner Teele placed the money in his jacket.
December 1999 (just prior to Christmas) between 10:30-11:00 p.m.: Mr. Thermilus stated that he was residing at 6455 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach. He had a safe in the floor where he kept large amounts of cash. He recalled receiving a telephone call from Commissioner Teele, who stated that he was on his way to pick up $20,000. Mr. Thermilus called this an "advance fee," which signified that the two were "going to do some things." He stated that he removed the money from the safe and placed it on his bed (upstairs), while Ms. Tammy McNair (his wife) observed. The money was in four stacks, wrapped with triple rubber bands. Each stack contained $5,000.
McNair stated that she was fully aware that Teele came to their residence in Miami Beach to collect money that Thermilus was paying him. McNair stated that in one particular incident in late 1999, she walked into the master bedroom and saw two stacks of money wrapped in a rubber band on the bed. McNair asked Thermilus how much money was on the bed and he replied, "$20,000." McNair then asked Thermilus if he was going gambling and he replied, "No. Psycho is coming over to pick up money." McNair understood that when Thermilus used the term "Psycho," he was talking about Teele.
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Mr. Thermilus stated that Commissioner Teele arrived, and he responded downstairs into the kitchen area where the two talked. He further recalled pouring Teele a glass of blush wine and placing the four stacks, totaling $20,000 cash, into a shopping bag from an upscale merchant. The bag is described as a glossy Gucci paper bag. The bag containing the money was given to Commissioner Teele. Thermilus advised that the money was taken out of the $92,000 cash he received from Leon Butler.
Mr. Thermilus stated Commissioner Teele "needed to do something for you, in order to get something from you, to control you."
Mr. Thermilus admitted that he allowed himself to be controlled by loyalty, fear, and greed.