Carey-Shuler’s hand-picked successor for her commission seat, Edmonson, the former mayor of El Portal, became Carlisle’s biggest advocate and political beneficiary at county hall.
Edmonson said she only became aware in 2009-10 that her mentor was working for Carlisle as a consultant. She said Carey-Shuler brought up a few of Carlisle’s projects with her during that period, including the Seventh Avenue Transit Village on Northwest 62nd Street.
She said Carey-Shuler approached her about the 161-unit development after it was selected by the county staff in a competitive bidding process. The $45 million project — which Carlisle is trying to sell because it cannot obtain private financing while under investigation — received nearly $17 million in county funds and $3 million from the Federal Transit Authority. In 2011, the Miami-Dade Commission gave final approval to Carlisle’s Liberty City project, including much of the public financing and a county land lease.
Asked if the former commissioner ever unduly influenced her on Carlisle’s behalf, Edmonson told the Herald: “One of things I am proud of is that no one has the ability to influence me. ... I think I have a reputation that I cannot be influenced.”
Over the past decade, Carlisle has grown into the state’s largest affordable-housing developer, with 25 apartment complexes and about 3,000 units under its management in Miami-Dade, including many in Carey-Shuler’s former district.
The developer’s payments to Carey-Shuler — summarized in public records obtained by the Herald from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office — came to the attention of prosecutors around 2009 when they were investigating one of her political protégés, Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, and suspected corruption in Miami-Dade’s nonprofit and affordable-housing sectors, unrelated to Carlisle.
Ultimately, Spence-Jones regained her seat in August 2011 after she was acquitted at trial in a felony bribery case involving a developer.
A second case alleging Spence-Jones steered county grant money to a family business was dropped by prosecutors after a key witness, Carey-Shuler, changed her testimony.
With other state investigations taking center stage, the collateral probe of Carey-Shuler and her consulting company ultimately fizzled, never going beyond the prosecution’s issuing of subpoenas to obtain her bank records.
Clyne, Carey-Shuler’s attorney, called a Herald reporter late last month — just days after the reporter had spoken with his client — to say that she had been working for years as a consultant for Carlisle.
“She was helping them on multiple fronts. She would be an adviser on how to deal with the community,” Clyne said. “She would be an adviser on the county commission and policies and procedures. She would be an adviser even on the state issues. She knew a lot about affordable housing.”
Clyne took umbrage with the Herald’s coverage of African-American consultants, saying whites and Hispanics earn much more but are never singled out in the newspaper.
“Compared to what other consultants are paid, it was not very much,” he said of the money paid to Carey-Shuler.
He added: “It borders on slander.”