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Another Mayor in Florida Arrested, The Third One This Month

All told, Bateman was paid $3,625 by CHI for his work, although the company had authorized as much as $120,000 in payments for a year of work, according to an arrest affidavit. Bateman was jailed on $21,500 bail but scheduled for release later Wednesday. He is charged with two felonies for accepting illegal compensation as well as several misdemeanors, including unregistered lobbying.

His attorney, Ben Kuehne, said Bateman was "shocked by his sudden and unexpected arrest."

"He looks forward to his vindication. He has served the community for many years in an honest, dependable manner," Kuehne added in an email. "He has honestly earned every dollar he received through hard work and dedication to the public."

Bateman was first elected mayor of Homestead in 2009 and re-elected in 2011. He is seeking re-election again this year, but has been suspended from office by Gov. Rick Scott until the charges are resolved.

Earlier this month, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono, along with two lobbyists, were arrested on federal corruption charges in an FBI sting operation. Authorities say Pizzi and Marono accepted thousands of dollars in kickbacks in exchange for supporting applications for federal grants that were never to be used for their intended purposes. Pizzi and Marono, who have been suspended from office, insist they are innocent.

Those arrests followed tax evasion charges in May against former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and his wife, Raizi, who are accused of failing to report income on high-interest loans and other business interests. The couple have also said they are innocent. Robaina once unsuccessfully ran for Miami-Dade mayor, the county's top elected post.

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BY CURT ANDERSON
AP LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER

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