Embattled Opa-locka city manager taking 'temporary leave of absence for medical reasons'

David Chiverton among city officials under federal investigation

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. - Embattled Opa-locka City Manager David Chiverton sent a later to city officials Wednesday, saying that he is taking a "temporary leave of absence for medical reasons."

The letter to Mayor Myra Taylor, Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes and Commissioners Joseph Kelley, Terence Pinder and Luis Santiago said Chiverton would be appointing Assistant City Manager Yvette Harrell as acting city manager.

"Ms. Harrell is well qualified to assume this position, and to the extent I am able, I will remain available to assist her in the performance of her duties until I return," the letter said.

The announcement comes two months after federal agents executed a search warrant at the Opa-locka Municipal Complex at 780 Fisherman St.

The mayor and her husband are under investigation for an alleged kickback scheme related to a city sewer project. The couple is accused of taking $150,000 from the city to support their own finances.

Taylor declined to comment to Local 10 News.

Chiverton and Santiago are also under investigation for allegations of pay-to-play bribes.

Former Opa-locka city manager Steve Shiver released a statement shortly after the raid was conducted, saying that he noticed irregularities in the city's finances.

"If you'll recall, before being abruptly terminated city manager in November of last year, I pointed out several irregularities and there were things that just didn't make sense about their financial systems there," Shiver said. "At this point, I hope and pray that our justice system will rapidly resolve this issue and allow the good citizens, the business owners and residents of Opa-locka to finally move forward."

City officials voted 3-1 to fire Shiver in November after he spent three months as Opa-locka's city manager. The firing was initiated by the mayor after Shiver asked the state for help in resolving an $8 million deficit.

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