Published: Oct. 1, 2007  
Problem loans and grants

WINSTON TOWNSEND/MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Berrontaj, Inc.: The Empowerment Trust approved a $325,000 loan in 2003 for this Florida City gas station and cafeteria, a project expected to create 20 jobs. Four years later, the cafeteria still isn't completed. The gas station has seven employees, owner Premsaran Patel said.

EMILY HARRIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Rosebriar Cafe :In July, the trust told the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that it "created or retained" nine jobs by loaning $290,000 to this Wynwood restaurant - although records show that the restaurant closed last year. The loans are now overdue, records show.

CARL JUSTE/MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Overtown Manufacturing Co. : The trust loaned $75,000 to this clothing company in 2000, just a few months after the company lost two costly lawsuits to creditors. After the company shut down in 2002, the trust continued to tell HUD that the company had as many as 35 employees.



EMILY HARRIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Chili's Restaurant at Bayside Marketplace : The trust and county commissioners agreed in 2003 to invest $500,000 in this restaurant, whose owners include the spouses of former lobbyist William Perry III and Dewey Knight, one-time campaign manager for County Commissioner Dorrin Rolle. While the trust says this company has 120 employees, county records show that it has just 88 workers.