Oops, she did it again. Michelle Spence Jones gets the best of Kathy Rundle, one more time.
A clip from my Herald column today:
Spence-Jones has been whispered about and picked apart over her dealings with developers almost since the moment she took office in 2005. But like her political godmother Carey-Shuler, who in her initial sworn statements disowned Spence-Jones claiming to be shocked — shocked! — that money went to something she was “barely” familiar with called Karym Ventures, rather than to the Liberty City revitalization projects Osun’s Village and Timbuktu Marketplace, Spence-Jones has proven to be easier to chase than to catch.
Carey-Shuler made a great teacher. After all, her alleged former bagman, Antonio Junior, came forward too late to prosecute the former County Commission chair for years of shady dealings. And the elder stateswoman belatedly discovered that, after all, she is the “Barbara Carey-Shuler” who signed over that grant money to Spence-Jones, saving her just in time. It couldn’t have worked out better if it had been scripted. Carey-Shuler was given immunity for her testimony, so even if her initial statements were false, prosecutors can’t touch her.
Meanwhile, lost in all the drama is the original intent of those grants, which were made through the Metro Miami Action Plan Trust, a county venture put in place to address the economic deprivation and social alienation that helped fuel the Liberty City riots of the 1980s. Osun’s Village and Timbuktu Marketplace were supposed to bring restaurants, shopping and artwork to brighten a tough stretch of Miami’s Seventh Avenue.
Needless to say, it didn’t happen.
The money is gone. The projects are a distant memory. And no one has ever been held to account.
And we all know that no one ever will be.
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