Despite ties to builder, development official gets clean bill of health from prosecutors

Mary McKenny is off the hook. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office has cleared Riviera Beach’s top development official of any criminal wrongdoing.

At issue was McKinney’s real estate relationship wth Dilip Barot in 2003, when Barot was seeking a city waiver to build his seven acre Amrit resort on Singer Island.As it happens, Barot was McKinney’s landlord.McKinney purchased the yellow and white Siriviera-beachnger Island house at 3101 Park Avenue in 2003. But for the previous two years, McKinney had been renting the house from Barot.

Barot sold it to McKinney for $180,000.

Fane Lozeman, the tech millionaire who has butted heads with Rivera Beach all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on an unrelated city marina issue, filed the complaint with the state attorney’s office. Lozeman wrote that an adjacent property had gone for more than $400,000, raising the question of whether McKinney got her 1400-square-foot pool home at a suspect discount, and at a time when her landlord was looking for development help from the city.

But McKinney said her department doesn’t grant the type of variances Barot sought.

And comparable property sales at around the same time didn’t set off any alarms with the county’s property appraisal staff, though they told the state attorney’s investigator the McKinney sale price might have been “a little low.”

Not low enough to sustain interest in a criminal case, though.

Early release for elderly Florida pot convicts?

John Knock won’t be casting any ballots on legalizing medical marijuana in Florida, but you might guess how he would vote all the same: The 67-year-old is 16 years into  two life terms for conspiracy to distribute pot, sentences handed down by a federal judge in North Florida.
John-KnockHe is among five elderly convicts serving hard time for what New York attorney Michael Kennedy believes are small potatoes charges: nonviolent pot crimes.

Of the five, two were sentenced in Florida.

Kennedy is seeking a presidential pardon.Knock was a first-time offender. His conviction includes 20 years tacked on to the dual life sentences. it’s believed to be the harshest ever levied against a nonviolent offender in a pot case.

Among the other five men: two ex- marines, including a decorated Viet Nam vet who did multiple tours of duty in Nam- when multiple tours in a war were an option.

Read Kennedy’s statement here.