The mother and former chief of staff of Miami congressman Kendrick Meek, who is running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat, received money from a South Florida developer who has been charged with fraud. At the same time, Rep. Meek lobbied for federal funds for the developer, Dennis Stackhouse, to build a biopharmaceutical complex in Miami. The project is yet to be completed.
The Miami Herald reported the story on Friday:
As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek championed a proposed biopharmaceutical complex for Liberty City in 2003, his Miami chief of staff received $13,000 from the project’s developer to help the aide buy a house, newly released police records show.
The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built.
The police records show that Stackhouse engaged in an elaborate campaign to curry favor with Meek as the builder sought the congressman’s help in obtaining federal funding for the project. In addition to helping the aide’s house purchase, Stackhouse hired Meek’s mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, paying her $90,000 in consulting fees and paying for a Cadillac Escalade for her to drive.
Meek twice sought congressional earmarks to benefit the project, but has insisted that was unrelated to his mother’s work for the developer.
On Friday, he repeated that his efforts were designed to help bring jobs and development to the heart of his district — not to provide political payback to Stackhouse.
Meek responded to the charges on Sunday in Panama City Beach, telling WJHG-7 that he wants Stackhouse to be prosecuted. “Unfortuantely, he [Stackhouse] was not a truthful person,” Meek said. He added on the failed project, “But, when we look at putting people back to work, we’re going to run into these situations sometimes. It has nothing to do with me. I have not been interviewed by anybody for no reason at all — there’s not any reason for anybody to be concerned with me.”
Meek is running for Senate against current governor and no party candidate Charlie Crist, and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio. Neither of them have issued any statements about the deal. However, billionaire Jeff Greene, who began running for the Democratic nomination for Senate two weeks ago, called Kendrick Meek’s behavior “completely outrageous.”
Meek has consistently trailed Rubio and Crist in the Florida Senate race.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/Center for American Progress Action Fund