Miami Hit With 1 Million Tab For Unauthorized Aids Facility Sale
Written by Jacquelyn Weiner on June 18, 2009
By Jacquelyn Weiner
A non-profit agency’s unauthorized sale of a federally funded AIDS facility to a private company is costing the City of Miami nearly $1 million in a $4 million tab that must be paid for the city to receive $12 million in stimulus funds.
In an effort to recoup the $935,556 from the non-profit, commissioners allocated $10,000 last Thursday to the city attorney to investigate the circumstances and people behind Sugar Hill Apartments, a government-funded complex for people with AIDS that ended up in private hands and the residents removed.
"We need to go after these people," said Commissioner Tomás Regalado.
Sugar Hill was acquired in 1993 by the Economic Opportunity Family Health Center and was sold to M.O.V.E.R.S. Inc., in 2003. Both organizations are local non-profits.
Yet what had commissioners fuming was M.O.V.E.R.S.’ 2007 sale of the government-funded facility to Golden Sterling LLC, a private, for-profit company, for $1.8 million.
This sale violated rules tied to the grants that required any sale of the property be approved by the grantor, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In addition, the apartments had to be occupied by AIDS patients in federal programs for 10 years after full occupancy, which would have been February 2012, according to a March 2008 city document.
After the private acquisition, all AIDS patients but one were removed, city documents say.
The buyers "are actually doing away with the federal program and the city’s — and I suspect the county’s — intention of providing housing opportunities for persons with AIDS," said Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. "They’re going to convert this to a condo conversion."