Miami Gardens / Opa-locka

Husband of Opa-locka mayor pleads guilty to campaign felonies

 
 
NOV. 1, 2010 FILE PHOTO: Bishop John H. Taylor watches as his wife Mayor elect Myra L. Taylor gets sworn in by Hialeah Mayor Julio Robiana and School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross Mindingall during the official induction of the newly elected city officials in Opa-locka.
NOV. 1, 2010 FILE PHOTO: Bishop John H. Taylor watches as his wife Mayor elect Myra L. Taylor gets sworn in by Hialeah Mayor Julio Robiana and School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross Mindingall during the official induction of the newly elected city officials in Opa-locka.
CHRIS CUTRO / FOR THE MAIMI HERALD

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

The husband of Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor pleaded guilty Wednesday to covering up more than $6,000 illegal campaign contributions for his wife in 2010.

John Taylor, 68, accepted three years of probation on charges of fabricating evidence, conspiracy and excessive campaign contributions. He must complete 150 hours of community service and pay more than $4,000 in fines.

He was arrested in February 2012, another blow to a city long plagued by public corruption. Prosecutors did not have enough evidence to implicate the mayor. But they had enough to arrest her husband, son Demetrius “Corleon” Taylor and Myra Taylor’s sister, Elvira Smith.

Myra Taylor won that November 2010 campaign, ushering herself back to the city’s top political post after pleading guilty to an earlier, unrelated misdemeanor charge and settling a tax case with the federal government.

Miami-Dade prosecutors said the Taylors, who run the private Vankara private school, used a school account to pay more than $6,000 for the cost of printing campaign materials that fall. The family’s company, New Beginnings, run from their church, also paid $783.93 for a political mailer.

State campaign contributions, at the time, were supposed to max out at $500.

Investigators said that after subpoenas were issued, John Taylor tried to create a fake “marketing” campaign for Vankara that would be used to justify the printing expenses.

Demetrius Taylor, 38, on Wednesday agreed to accept two years of probation; he must pay over $3,000 in fines and complete 100 community service hours.

Elvira Taylor, 57, entered a “pre-trial intervention” program. Prosecutors will drop the charges if she completes 50 hours of community service.

“They apologize to the community and are glad to put this behind them and continue to work toward the betterment of the Opa-locka community,” said Ben Kuehne, John Taylor’s attorney.

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