Miami-Dade County took the first step Wednesday to transfer four affordable-housing projects from a developer under federal investigation to a different real-estate firm.
If federal agencies approve the handoff, the four projects will be assigned to Atlantic|Pacific Community Housing Development from Carlisle Development Group. A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating allegations that Carlisle defrauded the U.S. government by inflating its construction costs to receive higher tax subsidies to finance more than a dozen rental-apartment properties in Miami-Dade and Broward.
The Federal Transit Administration must sign off on the change, and the county will also reach out to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Deputy Mayor Russell Benford told commissioners.
The board did not debate the action, sponsored by Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. She was absent from the meeting, but in a letter urged her colleagues to let Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration vet the transfer.
“These projects are important to my district, providing critical jobs and much-needed affordable housing,” she wrote, according to County Attorney Robert Cuevas, who read Edmonson’s letter out loud at the meeting.
Last month, Atlantic|Pacific agreed to purchase Carlisle’s affordable-housing division. As part of that deal, Atlantic|Pacific would acquire the four projects — the Seventh Avenue Transit Village in Liberty City, the Northside Transit Village in North-Central Dade, Island Living in Overtown and Lincoln Gardens in Brownsville — while Carlisle would retain 25 existing county developments, managing 2,855 public-housing units, according to the county.
Commissioners voted 10-0 in favor of Edmonson’s measure. Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz was also absent from the meeting, and Commissioner Xavier Suarez was absent from the vote.
The resolution requires Miami-Dade administrators to conduct “due diligence” research into Atlantic|Pacific to ensure the company is strong enough financially to take on the Carlisle projects.
Atlantic|Pacific, a Miami-based firm, said last month that Carlisle’s affordable-housing business will become A|P Communities and be headed by Kenneth Naylor, who used to be Carlisle’s chief operating officer.
In May, the Miami Herald reported on a federal grand-jury subpoena issued in January that focused on Carlisle Chief Executive Matthew S. Greer, retired CEO and founder Lloyd J. Boggio and general contractor Michael K. Runyan.
Listed in the subpoena were two of Carlisle’s high-rise rental projects, Villa Patricia in Little Haiti and Amber Garden in Allapattah, that will remain under the company’s management following the deal with Atlantic|Pacific.
In other business Wednesday, commissioners:
• Created two municipal advisory committees to explore turning unincorporated swaths of South Miami-Dade into cities of their own, or having them join existing cities. The measure creating the groups was sponsored by Commissioner Dennis Moss, who represents the unincorporated neighborhoods.
One of the areas extends generally south of Southwest 120th Street, east to Goulds, south to Southwest 232nd Street and west to 157th Avenue. The second stretches east of U.S. 1 from Goulds to Southwest 320th Street.
• Asked the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss its anti-trust lawsuit blocking the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The measure, also sponsored by Moss, comes on the heels of Mayor Gimenez and Miami International Airport chief Emilio González making a similar request last month.
• Clarified that gas station mini-marts may sell beer and wine for off-site consumption.