Reporting David Sutta
South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBS4) – Documents obtained by CBS4 show a system of corruption and payoffs that spans not just a few months on Miami Beach but perhaps more than a decade.
As the booze was flowing at Club Dolce on Ocean Drive, code and fire inspectors looked the other way. All the while cops were running drugs to Aventura.
The federal investigation all started with Miami Beach senior code inspector Jose Alberto. While the city was honoring him recently, the FBI says he and a network of his inspectors were shaking down the owner of Club Dolce. The establishment is now closed.
The alleged operation was quite simple. According to an FBI informant, Alberto threatened with huge fines of $40,000 to $50,000. It was enough to shut clubs down. Alberto allegedly than offered to make the fines and violations go away with payments. As the money flowed, more than $15,000 to Alberto according to documents, the inspections and problems went away.
When it came to fire inspections, Chai Footman offered up his services to undercover agents as long as he could quote “hang out and party and chill.” Footman was known to party and on one night out, the FBI says he rang up more than $3500 in free booze and food.
Eventually the beach’s senior fire inspector allegedly got involved. Henry Bryant was recorded on numerous occasions taking kickbacks for “taking care of things”. Bryant had a clever way of demanding money, according to the documents. He would always say he needed it for charity. In one instance he’s recorded saying he needs to buy 20 bicycles for kids that cost $100 each, meaning he wanted $2,000.
Documents show Bryant bragging about how he and Alberto worked together.
“I have worked with him for about 12 years on every little gig I had.” He went on to say “We kept a place open that violated every (expletive) rule in the law but the guy was paying us four grand.” Bryant continued on telling undercover agents he been in business for 25 years and confirmed he would not get caught.
Over the holidays Bryant would take things even further.
According to the FBI agent, Bryant agreed to run drugs. Undercover agents supplied him with duffle bags of sham cocaine. On two occasions Bryant allegedly delivered the drugs to a car parked in the Aventura mall and then at a nearby Publix.
As disturbing as the accusation is, it’s who he did it with that has raised eyebrows.
Bryant claimed to have Miami Beach and Miami-Dade cops escorting the drugs to Aventura.
Miami-Dade officer Daniel Mack was charged as part of the operation. However, he may just one of many corrupt officers still on the job.
Bryant told undercover agents he had connection to eight dirty cops to make even more drug runs.
At $3500 a pop, it was good money until they were busted this week.
This story is still developing and we will continue to follow it.