Follow-up reporting uncovers more questionable property sales by Miami-Dade guardianship program

Earlier this year, WLRN, the NPR member station in South Florida, uncovered a pattern of real estate sales by Miami Dade’s guardianship program to companies owned by close relatives of the City Attorney. The program is able to sell the assets of incapacitated people in its care, and then use those funds to cover the costs of their care. WLRN found that, in many cases, homes were sold to two real estate companies for low prices, and the companies then sold them for much higher prices, at a profit. The two companies were owned by the City Attorney’s husband and mother, respectively. That investigation, with support from the Fund, led the county to freeze property sales by the program while it conducted a full review. The investigation was also cited in a U.S. Senate hearing on new legislation to increase protections for people in guardianship programs nationwide. This week, with a follow-up grant from the Fund, WLRN dug deeper and found that even more homes than previously known were sold to the companies owned by the City Attorney’s husband and mother. The follow-up reporting also untangled a web of business associates involved in the transfer, sale and resale of these properties.