Federal agents swarm Opa-locka Municipal Complex

Mayor Myra Taylor, husband under investigation for alleged kickback scheme

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Derek Shore - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. - Federal agents were executing a search warrant Thursday morning at an Opa-locka city building.

Sky 10 was above the Opa-locka Municipal Complex, 780 Fisherman St., as FBI agents were seen carrying items out of the building.

The concentration seemed to be near the Opa-locka branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

Police cars were blocking off Fisherman Street near Opa-locka Boulevard.

A representative with Genovese Joblove & Battista said the city of Opa-locka voted unanimously Wednesday night to retain the law firm to help the city restructure its debt.

"We are working with the city to develop a strategy to address and consensually resolve the financial issues with its creditors and expect to be in contact with the major creditors in the very near future," John H. Genovese, founding partner of GJB, said. "We look forward to assisting the city in accomplishing its goal of reorganizing its finances and operations, and in evaluating the city's  assets so it can move toward sustainability in continuing to serve its community."

The move comes as Mayor Myra Taylor 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.

Former Vice Mayor Steven Barrett told Local 10 News reporter Derek Shore that he believes the allegations.

"This is the most corrupt city in the world," former Opa-locka Vice Mayor Steven Barrett tells Local 10 News.

"This is the most corrupt city in the world," Barrett said.

Barrett said he hopes something good comes from this.

"Maybe we'll get our city cleaned up and get people that will follow the laws and the guidelines of the government," Barrett said.

City attorney Vincent Brown had nothing to say to Local 10 as he walked to his car.

Current Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes said he's "not shocked" by the FBI raid.

"All I can tell you is if somebody's doing something wrong in the government, clean it up," Holmes said.

Former Opa-locka city manager Steve Shiver released the following statement on Facebook shortly after the raid:

"Hello. I, like many of you, have been watching with great interest the events unfolding at City Hall in the city of Opa-locka. I've seen the Facebook posts, I've seen pictures of FBI agents removing documents and other things from the city administrative offices. At this time, I can't go into any specifics on the advice of my consul, Rick Yabor. However, 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. 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. Thank you very much."

City officials voted 3-1 to fire Shiver in November after he spent three months as Opa-locka's city manager.

According to the Miami Herald, the firing was led by the mayor after Shiver asked the state for help in resolving an $8 million deficit.

Taylor criticized the move and said Shiver should have taken the issue to the city commission.

The FBI said no arrests have been made.

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