OPA LOCKA — The former city manager of Opa-Locka – facing a federal corruption charge – changed his plea to guilty Monday morning.
David Chiverton appeared in federal court to change his plea on one count of conspiracy to accept improper gifts or payments. The judge reviewed facts from both side and accepted his new plea.
Chiverton also waived his right to demand and indictment of grand jury.
He had previously pleaded not- guilty after turning himself in on August 8th. Chiverton had resigned back in July. He along with the former Opa-locka Assistant Public Works Director Gregory Harris were charged for their participation in a two-year long bribery and extortion scheme.
According to authorities, Chiverton and Harris used their official positions within the city to solicit, demand and obtain thousands of dollars in bribes from businesses and individuals in exchange for some sort of official action.
In exchange for the illegal payments, investigators said a public official would direct Chiverton, Harris and other City of Opa-locka employees to do various tasks like issuing occupational licenses; waiving, removing, and setting code enforcement matters and liens; initiating, restoring and continuing water service; and assisting with zoning issues.
Harris also allegedly was directed by Chiverton and another public official to take actions like restoring water service to businesses that had paid them illegal bribes.
The FBI has also been investigating Opa-locka’s mayor over allegations of corruption. Several other top officials are under investigation as well.
CBS4 News was the first to air the only television interview with FBI’s inside man in Opa-locka, Frank Zambrana, who says he wore a wire and recorded a number of city officials shaking him down for bribes.
As for the city, it’s under a state of financial emergency – declared by Florida Gov. Rick Scott. This means the state is overseeing everything for the city of Opa-locka. City officials say Opa-locka is facing a $1.4 million shortfall plus millions more in previous debts.
As for Chiverton, his sentencing is scheduled for mid-November.