County panel to consider creation of fund for victims of bogus contractors
By Dan Dolan
A proposal to create a special trust fund to repay victims of a contractor licensing scandal that rocked the Miami-Dade building department is scheduled to be considered by the county commission's Infrastructure and Land Use Committee next week.
Under the plan drafted by the Building Code Compliance Office, businesses and residents ripped off by contractors using fake county licenses would be eligible to recover some of their losses by tapping into the trust fund.
The size of the fund has not been determined. County officials say the cash will come from fines and restitution agreements paid by more than 250 contractors who authorities say deliberately bought bogus licenses from crooked county employees.
Since the scandal broke in March, three building department employees have been charged with racketeering and accused of skirting laws that govern the issuance of contractor licenses in return for cash.
Contractors caught up in the scandal were involved with projects at 3,300 properties countywide. Some property owners, according to county officials, paid for substandard jobs or for work that was never performed. Those residents will be able to get some of their money back from the Fraudulent Contractor Recovery Trust Fund, if it is created by the commission after the land use committee's Nov. 14 hearing.
Before any claim could be paid, a fraud victim would have to submit documentation and appear at a Building Code Compliance Office case hearing.