Published: Sept. 30, 2007  
Problem loans and grants

EMILY HARRIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Diapers Etc.: The trust invested $530,000 in a Canadian retailer's efforts to expand its Baby City franchise. The company opened four stores in Miami-Dade County, including this one in Overtown and another outside the empowerment zones. The stores, which were supposed to generate 24 total jobs, have all closed.

JARED LAZARUS/MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Radio Carnivale: The trust board and county commissioners agreed in 2003 to invest $500,000 with this Haitian radio broadcaster, although the company had debts reaching $300,000 at the time. Radio Carnivale shut down 13 months later, and the money has never been repaid.


EMILY HARRIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Bottom Grounds Records: In 2003, the trust loaned $65,000 to three friends with a "home-based'' record production company. The trio used the money to rent a recording studio and design a logo. They soon defaulted on the loan, which remains unpaid.





EMILY HARRIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Silver Moon Entertainment: The trust loaned $100,000 to this company - partially owned by trust board member Fabio Alexander - to promote a would-be singer named Margarita in 2003. Records show that the company, situated at Opa-locka Airport, received an extra $22,000, but there are no records to show how the money was spent, or any records to show that Margarita ever launched her singing career.


WINSTON TOWNSEND/MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Floors to Doors: The trust gave $50,000 in 2000 to this Homestead business, co-owned by trust board member Gary Ferguson, who initially voted in favor of the grant, records show. But a new vote was held so he could recuse himself. Ferguson said he recused himself from all votes.



EMILY HARRIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Breeze Express Inc.: The Trust gave $100,000 in grants to this now defunct embroidery company, including a $50,000 grant while its owners, Danny and Paula Swain, sat on a trust advisory panel. Invoices filed by the couple include $3,500 in double billing and an $850 bill for rent - although the business was operated from their Liberty City house.