Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

FBI agents raid Opa-locka City Hall in public corruption probe

Dozens of federal agents raided Opa-locka City Hall early Thursday to gather official records, computers and other evidence in a public corruption probe zeroing in on top public officials, including the mayor and other city commissioners.

While inside city hall, FBI agents also entered the police detective offices and ordered all of the detectives into the hallway area so that federal agents could conduct a search.

Agents fanned out to other parts of City Hall, including the offices of the city manager, public works director and information technology supervisor.

No arrests are planned Thursday, only the execution of a search warrant in connection with the FBI’s corruption investigation, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the raid.

The FBI’s search at City Hall follows a two-year investigation into allegations of kickback schemes between government contractors and public officials in Opa-locka, which has been in dire financial straits due to millions of dollars in uncollected revenue and mismanagement.

In recent months, the Miami Herald has reported on allegations that Mayor Myra Taylor, and her husband, John Taylor, who is a minister, pressured former City Manager Steve Shiver for money to support the husband’s interest in buying a church in Miami Gardens. The Herald also reported that Shiver accused a sewer project contractor of trying to shake him down to pay a large outstanding bill in an alleged scheme to divert $150,000 to the mayor and her husband for the church venture. The contractor, George Howard, had previously accused Shiver of soliciting the bribe from him to pay off the mayor.

Shiver’s tenure as city manager in Opa-locka was short-lived. While the mayor and other city commissioners hired him in early September, they turned on him by the end of November after he alerted state officials about Opa-locka’s dire financial problems —including at least $8 million in debts.

This story will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.