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Homestead Mayor Fired From Nonprofit

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CBS4's Jim DeFede tracked down Homestead mayor to ask him about allegations used his position to financially benefit himself and his wife. (CBS4)

CBS4’s Jim DeFede tracked down Homestead mayor to ask him about allegations used his position to financially benefit himself and his wife. (CBS4)

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South Florida Crime

HOMESTEAD (CBS4/The Miami Herald) – He’s still the Mayor of Homestead, but Mayor Steve Bateman said he has been fired from a nonprofit organization.

According to CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald, Bateman was dumped from his job with Community Health of South Florida, Inc.

Early this year, Bateman leveraged his elective office to secure a secret side job as construction consultant for CHI.

The organization provides affordable primary and behavioral healthcare services to South Florida and operates nine primary centers and 42 school-based programs.

It paid $125 an hour according to the paper.

Bateman said his firing from CHI was because of an article in the Miami Herald and a television piece by CBS4’s Jim DeFede.

The reports exposed the lucrative relationship between the mayor and the healthcare outfit.

That relationship is part of an ongoing investigation of the mayor by the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office.

Without disclosing the relationship to his colleagues on the council or to the public, Bateman accepted the job with CHI, earning as much as $4,500 during one 38-hour work week, according to invoices reviewed by The Miami Herald.

Also, the reports revealed Bateman didn’t disclose the relationship to Miami-Dade government administrators when he lobbied them to fast-track a Homestead sewer system expansion that is necessary for CHI to proceed with a proposed children’s clinic in downtown Homestead.

County officials, including Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his top aides, said they thought Bateman was speaking to them in his capacity as mayor.

CHI Chairman and CEO Col. Brodes Hartley confirmed to CBS4 in late June that CHI was employing Bateman — and that Bateman had suggested the arrangement.

“I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t initiate the discussion with him,” Hartley said at the time.

He said he hired Bateman because “he has a construction background.”

Bateman has a county license to install awnings, shutters and screen enclosures, but isn’t a general contractor. And he isn’t a registered lobbyist either.

CHI refused to confirm Bateman’s firing.

“I can’t talk about it,” said Tiffani Helberg, CHI’s vice president of communications and development.

She said Hartley wouldn’t be talking about it either.

Bateman said that the stymieing of the sewer project is hurting the city he loves.

“We’re holding back real jobs,” he said to the paper.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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