Perez told the CRA board: I dont come here looking for incentives.
Vice Mayor Judy Waldman, who presided over the meeting, voiced the sentiments of the board when she declared: I love the idea of the university. But she and other board members were troubled by Perezs proposed purchase price and that the CRA would be stuck with the brokers fee $32,947.
So, the members agreed to get an appraisal. And Perez agreed to pay the sales commission.
Despite his absence from that discussion, Bateman lobbied for the CRA sale and publicly promoted it.
In the mayors June 2011 column for a local paper, he lauded Dade Medicals university project, saying the company plans a major expansion of its technical school and retail businesses in the downtown area, which already included a coffee shop and restaurant.
Land that has been unused since Hurricane Andrew may now be the site of potential new development, Bateman wrote. Students and teachers require restaurants and other amenities, further adding to the revitalization of the area.
Meanwhile, the appraisal commissioned by the CRA board came in with a value of $924,000.
As the summer wore on, Bateman grew concerned about what seemed to him a lack of progress on the CRA land sale to Dade Medical. Can you update me on the Dade Medical College issue and whether or not we lost them? the mayor asked the city manager in a July 7, 2011 email.
Months passed, and Dade Medical changed the terms of its purchase proposal.
On Nov. 8, 2011, the companys broker, Royal Palm, sent the city an amended offer of $328,000 for 19 parcels of CRA land reducing Perezs previous offer by more than half.
The next day, Bateman called the city clerk to schedule a special meeting of the CRA board to discuss the latest proposal. The meeting took place on Nov. 16, but Bateman didnt show up. The boards six council members authorized the CRA staff to negotiate an option agreement with Dade Medical.
About one month later, the CRA board minus Bateman unanimously voted on approving the terms of the $328,000 deal with Dade Medical. Bateman, who voted on other agenda items, gave no explanation for excusing himself from the vote on the CRA land sale.
Flash forward one year: On Dec. 17, 2012, Bateman joined Dade Medicals Perez and two other company executives on a chartered-plane trip to Tallahassee to lobby the governor on roadway improvements to Krome Avenue. The improvements, on a truck bypass road, would benefit the downtown area, including Dade Medicals university project on the CRA land.
According to public records, the mayor was reimbursed by the city for his hotel and food expenses, but he did not disclose the trip as a gift on his financial disclosure form, as required by state ethics law. Nor did he inform his fellow CRA board members that he made the trip. Instead, meeting minutes show the mayor told the board that Dade Medical called him to say it had met with Gov. Rick Scott about the Krome Avenue bypass plan on the citys behalf.
Then in February of this year, the mayor waived the traffic study that was required by law for Dade Medicals university project.
The fact that a businessman of Perezs stature took an interest in Homestead was remarkable in itself. He and his father, a retired physician, founded Dade Medical College in 1999, after they had started a medical diagnostic company earlier in the decade.