MIAMI (CBS4) – CBS4 has uncovered new details on the investigation into corruption at Miami City Hall through wire tapes worn by the city’s former police chief.
The tapes were released on Friday because the investigation is closed. There’s talk of cash payouts and avoiding taxes, but the state attorney found no wrongdoing.
This was an attempt by former police Chief Miguel Exposito to bring down the city administration. He thought he could bust them making a bribe. What they offered him was a severance package.
While parts of the three plus hours of recordings raise some concerns, prosecutors believe no laws were broken.
The tapes span just a few days in January of 2011. They involve Miami’s former Chief Financial Officer Larry Spring, and city manager Tony Crapp.
“Yeah I don’t have a problem with you, you know, being compensated for, you know an exit,” said Crapp.
The entire offer appears to be initiated by CFO Spring, who’s trying to arrange a severance payout for Exposito to resign. Unknown to everyone, Exposito recorded every conversation.
“I’d like some money upfront, cash,” Exposito said on the recording.
At the time of the recordings, he was facing heat over a series of police shootings. The city is just days away from a potential commission meeting that could lead to him being fired.
Exposito can be heard on the tape saying:
“If I take the money or I’m in agreement what we are going to do then Thursday goes away?”
Spring replied, “Thursday goes away.”
“Thursday goes away,” Exposito shot back.
“This is not you talking? You are the messenger?” “I am the messenger,” said Spring.
Exposito then agreed to take the money, $400,000 to go away.
“I don’t have anything to lose. Tomorrow I go there, and tomorrow, you know, they can put on their circus, and it will be over, and it will be a circus like we have every other day at the City of Miami. There’s nothing new with that. I have nothing to lose. Remember that.”
What appeared to be a negotiation then ensued.
Spring offered, “Can you do 375?”
Exposito countered, “no. No 375. I’m not, I’m not, let’s, this isn’t, let’s make a deal. Alright?”
The money is supposed to be $200,000 up front, and another $200,000 when he leaves.
“You will get it,” said Spring.
Exposito replied,“You know where I’m not going to get taxes because I’m going to get killed with taxes.”
Miami’s Chief Financial Officer then joked how he could get the money past commissioners without them knowing,
“You know what. I wish we had a big budget amendment right now because I could probably get it passed and they wouldn’t even look at it. (laughs),” said Spring.
The deal ended up falling apart though when the city couldn’t deliver cash, only a check Exposito would have been taxed on.
“If things aren’t the way that I think that I can get compensated than I’ll take my chances,” said Exposito, “I’ll just go in front of the commission and let them fire me you know.”
“Well do me this favor, Mike,” said Spring. “Don’t say no yet.”
I’m not going to say no yet,” replied Exposito.
Crapp then leaned on Exposito in hopes to change his mind, hinting that commissioners were pushing him to fire the chief.
“Three of them have indicated to me that they want a resolution,” said Crapp, “And I know you have a decision to make, but I want to make sure that I tell you, You know, all the information you need to know.”
Exposito in the end survived that January commission meeting. But the city’s new manager fired him in September for insubordination. He’s been appealing that firing ever since.