Environmental Crime Fund Chief Removed - NBC 6 South Florida

Environmental Crime Fund Chief Removed

After questions about spending, Frank Vecin is no longer in charge of the bureau

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    We like to think of the chief of the environmental crime fund as a long-haired Woody Harrelson-looking guy in a hemp uniform hauling people off to a solar-powered jail for tossing a Styrofoam cup into a sidewalk city recycling bin.

    Alas, there is no such thing as a sidewalk city recycling bin in Miami (so silly!), and Frank Vecin, chief of Miami-Dade police's environmental crime fund, has been relieved of his position, the Miami Herald reported, following questions about where the money in that fund actually went.

    The fund was set up in 2000 to help combat polluters - we're the "drum dump capital" ya know -- but the uncovering of $5 million of questionable spending since 2001 - half of which was spent in the past three years -- prompted police to start an investigation.

    The list of inappropriate purchases reads like a Price is Right Showcase Showdown: Flat-screen TVs, laptops, DirecTV subscriptions, a 24-foot pimped-out trailer, and SUVs - we're guessing they weren't even hybrids.

    The department is also under fire for several officers who were "training" and "consulting" in Panama on company time, including mayoral Chief of Staff Denis Morales, who was demoted earlier this year.

    ``The only thing we can say," police spokeswoman Maj. Veronica L. Ferguson told the Herald, "is this is part of the reorganization plan the director has put forth.''