Former city employee helps with probe, avoids prison

MIAMI (AP) — A former public works supervisor in the South Florida city of Opa-locka has avoided prison time with his cooperation in a wide-ranging FBI government corruption probe.

The Miami Herald reports that a federal judge on Thursday gave 50-year-old Gregory Harris three years of probation and community service for helping prosecutors strengthen their criminal case against other Opa-locka politicians and employees. He previously pleaded guilty to a single bribery charge.

Court documents show Harris conspired with other officials, including a former city manager and a former city commissioner, to extort illegal payments from business owners seeking various licenses and permits. The FBI raided Opa-locka city offices last year. The city also is in the midst of a financial crisis that led Gov. Rick Scott to declare a fiscal emergency with appointment of a state oversight board.

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