Spence-Jones Hit With Grand Theft Charge
MIAMI (CBS4) – More bad news for suspended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones who’s already facing trial in January for allegedly soliciting a bribe, prosecutors have now charged her with Grand Theft.
The charge was leveled after mega-developer Armando Codina told investigators that he made a “donation” of $12,500 to the Friends of MLK Trust, which Spence-Jones ran from her office, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. Codina said at the time he was awaiting a commission vote on a very lucrative downtown development project. In addition to his “donation”, Codina reportedly said that he convinced the project’s chief developer, Richard Glas, to kick in another @12,500.
Prosecutors said Codina thought the money would be going to an event honoring former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler. Investigators said they found that the money never went to the Carey-Shuler event and the Trust wasn’t established until months later.
In sworn statements, Spence-Jones would later admit that she solicited Codina for the money. Her attorney said she was in her legal rights to ask for the money which he said went to benefit the residents of her district.
In January, Spence-Jones will go on trial for an unrelated grand-theft charge. In 2005, while working as an aide to the Mayor, she reportedly steered $50 thousand in grants toward her family business.