In an exclusive NBC 6 interview, suspended Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman says he plans on getting his job back. Myriam Masihy reports.
In an exclusive NBC 6 interview, suspended Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman says he plans on getting his job back.
"I'm not going anywhere, this is my home," he said.
Bateman is running for re-election despite being suspended by the governor following his arrest on charges of unlawful compensation. He's accused of using his elected position to get a secret job in a corporation that had business in front of the city.
"There's nothing secret about it , everybody knew that I had the job," Bateman said. He added that he did no permitting and "strictly dealt with contractors on the job site."
Bateman said he's entitled to have a job seeing as how he only makes $6,000 a year as mayor and plans on proving his innocence. In the meantime, he's running for re-election despite reports that the governor would suspend him again if he gets elected.
Mark Bell, who is running against Bateman in Tuesday's primary says: "If you're going to vote for somebody, and they can't serve in the office then I think you need to think hard about who you want to vote for cause you could be throwing your vote away."
Former Councilman Jeff Porter who is also running for Mayor believes Bateman should've sat this election out.
"If he is innocent, let the system prove that he is innocent but don't drag the city and don't drag the taxpayer thru that murky, muddy water," Porter said.
But according to a memo sent to Bateman by his attorney, per Florida law, "the Governor does not have the authority to re-suspend" him for conduct that constitutes the basis for his previous suspension that was fully known to the public when electing him to fill the temporary vacancy.
Bell said he knows "the same thing happened to Michelle Spence-Jones; she was suspended immediately again so I don't know why the rules would be different for Mr. Bateman."
Bateman's legal team cites various cases for example former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez was suspended for public corruption charges when he was reelected for office and then governor Lawton Chiles decided not to suspend him again.