OPA-LOCKA (CBSMiami) — Former Opa-locka commissioner Luis Santiago surrendered to police on a bribery charge Friday, making him the fourth politician to be mired in the city’s corruption scandal.
Prosecutors said Santiago, 55, a one-term commissioner who lost his seat in November, took thousands of dollars in bribery payments from five local businesses in exchange for permits, licenses and other favors beginning in 2014, as reported by CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald.
These victimized business owners, who later became informants for the FBI, said they were blocked from obtaining the licenses that would normally cost only hundreds unless they made cash payments as bribes.
Santiago is accused of conspiring with former City Manager David Chiverton and Public Works supervisor Gregory Harris, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges soon after they surrendered to federal agents in August. Corleon Taylor, the son of Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor, also pleaded guilty.
If convicted, Santiago faces up to five years in prison. Chiverton was given a three-year prison sentence.
According to Santiago’s defense attorney, Roderick Vereen, his client is prepared to take responsibility by pleading guilty.