The mayor stepped up his lobbying efforts, reporting back to CHI.
Colonel Hartley, I am at Dade County waiting for final review on city lift station, Bateman emailed on Feb. 19, 2013, nearly three weeks after he was hired by CHI. I think its important for final work and permits. I will update you tonight.
He followed up an hour and a half later: Just leaving. Things went well. Maybe one week for completion of review for lift station Homestead.
The next day, Feb. 20, Bateman told his fellow council members about his upcoming meeting with top county officials to go over some of the issues the county needs to take care of. The pumping station was one of four he identified. He did not disclose he was now being paid by CHI.
On Feb. 21, Bateman met with Gimenez in the county mayors office and urged him to put the Miami-Dade review of the pumping station on a faster track.
Gimenezs spokesman, Figueredo, said the mayor and Osterholt were under the impression the purpose of the meeting was to discuss sidewalk expansion. In reality, Bateman spent the whole time on the pumping station. He left with the understanding that CHI and other Homestead developers could move forward.
When the agreement Bateman thought he had with Gimenez did not materialize, he fired off the Please HELP us memo to Deputy Mayor Osterholt.
It could not be determined whether Bateman billed CHI for his visits to County Hall about the pumping station, but CHI benefited from his actions as mayor, while keeping him on the payroll behind the scenes. His duties as CHIs construction consultant seem unremarkable by comparison.
Batemans invoice for the week of April 21-28 included such items as multiple correspondence, continued review, and multiple discussions with CHIs architect, other vendors and staff, regarding construction work on a half-dozen health facilities in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Of the 38 hours he billed that week to CHI, 10 were for the childrens crisis center.
CBS4 News contacted several construction industry experts and, without identifying Bateman, described the duties he was charging to CHI. The experts said the role Bateman appeared to play was that of owners representative and that $125 an hour was on the high end of the spectrum but still within industry standards.
On June 19, in the wake of a Herald article about the mayors behind-the-scenes dealings with another downtown Homestead developer, Dade-Medical College CEO Ernesto A. Perez, Homesteads City Council members took an unprecedented step. They suspended the $3 million in funding for pump station #1 until September.
The vote put the five projects that would have immediately benefited on hold. While lobbying for all of them, the mayor stood to benefit financially, directly or indirectly, from three. In addition to Batemans salary from CHI, his wife, Donna Bateman, works as a real estate agent for Dade Medical College and Perez, and represents charter school developer Wayne Rosen.
In the interest of integrity, I think we should wait to consider the pumping station with the rest of the budget [this fall], said Councilman Stephen Shelley.
The vote was unanimous. Bateman did not participate, having left the dais without explaining why.