(WSVN) - A Miami Beach employee was caught on camera creating code violations at a condo building, and you may be surprised to see what he did — and why. Karen Hensel has tonight’s 7 Investigates.
This condo building’s surveillance video starts with a Miami Beach Code Compliance officer getting out of his car. Notice these two recycling bins, with their lids closed, in the alley next to the Nautilus Towers condominium.
But watch what happens next. The officer opens one of the bins and arranges boxes inside so the lid no longer closes. He then opens it again, stacks even more boxes and raises the lid even higher before walking back to his car.
Berta Flynn, resident: “Oh, ahh, interesting.”
We showed the video to Berta Flynn, a unit owner at Nautilus.
Karen Hensel: “Does it surprise you that a code enforcement officer would do that?”
Berta Flynn: “It does. Unfortunately, it happens.”
And unfortunately for the Code Compliance officer, a surveillance camera on the building captured him rearranging the recycling bin clear as day.
But what is not clear is the motivation behind his bizarre behavior.
Body camera videos and records obtained by 7 Investigates provide a more complete picture of what happened on that November day last year.
Code Compliance officer (in bodycam video): “Now let’s go ahead and take a picture of that.”
Turns out, the officer seen taking a picture of the overflowing container was training a new officer on how to identify and cite violators.
Trainee (in bodycam video): “Doing a sanitation detail on 41st Street. Garbage can overflow.”
But it didn’t end there. The pair came back later in the day and slapped a trash violation notice on the building. It gave the condo 24 hours to fix the manufactured problem or face a $300 fine.
When the property management company reviewed its own surveillance video, it alerted the city. Miami Beach Police conducted an internal affairs investigation and questioned the code officer.
Internal affairs investigator: “Now, you guys posted it. Why did you leave it posted on the building? Can you explain?”
Code compliance officer: “Um, that was poor judgment on my part. Um, you know, I’m very sorry about that.”
The employee, with six and a half years’ experience, told investigators he was teaching the trainee the basics of sanitation details.
Code compliance officer: “So that she has a full and complete understanding and she receives some quality training.”
But he did not tell the condo building, or his supervisors, that this was all just an exercise.
And although he said his intention was to help the trainee, he admitted…
Code compliance officer: “These actions were unorthodox and uncommon, possibly even wrong. I will not engage in this type of activity again, and I’m very sorry.”
As for discipline, the officer got a one-day suspension.
The city wrote: “Your actions have violated our organization’s policies and procedures and compromised the integrity of our operations.”
Karen Hensel: “The code enforcement officer ended up saying, ‘Well, I was doing training.'”
Berta Flynn: “Ohh, what a nice excuse.”
Meanwhile, our camera captured open trash and recycling bins all over Miami Beach — which raises the question: why stage one in the first place?
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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