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OPA-LOCKA (CBSMiami) — Sentencing day is soon for a former City of Opa-Locka commissioner prosecuted as part of the city’s corruption investigation.
Tuesday morning Luis Santiago pled guilty in a two-year long bribery and extortion scheme.
Santiago is set to be sentenced on March 30th.
“Today in open court, a former City Commissioner admitted that he betrayed the trust placed in him by the people of Opa Locka by abusing his authority to demand and obtain bribes from local individuals and businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer in a statement. “This type of public corruption by an elected official erodes the crucial bond between our public institutions and the communities that they serve.”
According to the Department of Justice, Santiago admitted to conspiring with former Opa-Locka City Manager David Chiverton, former Opa-Locka Assistant Public Works Director Gregory Harris, among others to use their positions within the city to solicit thousands of dollars worth in bribes.
In exchange, according to the department, Santiago and his co-conspirators would take official actions to benefit the business paying them. That included issuing occupational licenses; waiving, removing, and settling code enforcement matters and liens; initiating, restoring and continuing water service; and assisting with zoning issues.
Santiago said he would pay Chiverton and also would tell the businesses and individuals to pay Chiverton directly in exchange for those official actions.
Chiverton and Harris have pled guilty. Chiverton was sentenced to 38 months in prison while Harris is awaiting sentencing.