Former Miami-Dade County employee accused of extorting vendor

Prosecutors say Public Works employee took bribes from street light company

Garfield Perry worked for Miami-Dade County for about two decades.
Garfield Perry worked for Miami-Dade County for about two decades.

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – A former Miami-Dade County employee, who worked for the public works department for about two decades, was accused of accepting bribes that included cruise vacations, airline tickets, hotel stays and theater tickets.

An unnamed Miami-Dade County vendor of street lights also made payments to the former employees' two home mortgages, one car loan, two home insurance policies, two car insurance policies, and eight credit cards, prosecutors said.

For about three years, Garfield Perry, 66, allegedly accepted about $150,000 from a street light company. He asked the unnamed company to issue checks payable to third parties, prosecutors said.

"After the checks were cashed, [Perry] determined the manner in which the proceeds were to be split," United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer said in a statement Monday.

As a former roadway lighting coordinator, Perry, was entrusted with maintaining more than 22,000 street lights in the roadway system and worked with federal funds.  Records show that in 2009 alone he managed about 15 street lighting improvement projects. Perry used funds from  the American Recovery and  Reinvestment Act, which records show awarded Florida about $11 billion from 2009-13.

In 2010, Perry joined Miami-Dade County's vendor MLS Group, a company that provides lighting products. First he worked as a utility lighting specialist and later as a vice president of installation and maintenance. He no longer works there.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation  was involved in the investigation. Perry stands accused of extortion. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in federal court at 2 p.m., Friday, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes.

Local 10 News' Andrea Torres requested more information from Miami-Dade County. Follow her on Twitter for updates on this story.