The city of West Palm Beach last fall bought seven acres on South Dixie Highway in a $2.9 million deal that axed mega-retailer Wal-Mart’s bid to build a “Neighborhood Market” in the space. And that deal has been a boon to Commissioner Shanon Materio’s run for re-election, with commissioners frequently citing the transaction as “key to revitalizing the city’s East End,” according to the Palm Beach Post. Now, it’s become clear that a local lobbyist with ties to Materio was behind the deal, the paper reported.
Behind the land transaction, at 8111 South Dixie Highway, was Akerman Senterfitt attorney Richard Pinsky, a lobbyist who has ties to Muoio and many members of the city commission, the Post said. The city bought the land from SGBK Properties, a subsidiary of Stonegate Bank.
Meanwhile, the city commission race, which will be decided next week, has become increasingly hostile, with opponents accusing Materio of negative attacks, according to reports. Materio supporters accused her opponent, Gregg Weiss, of being an operative for the Church of Scientology, among other accusations, last week, as the Post reported at the time.
Pinsky brokered the deal on behalf of the seller, but was serving as an unpaid adviser to Materio at the time, the Post said. He is also the ex-husband of Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell and has served in the past as a paid consultant to Commissioner Keith James’ campaign.
Materio, James and Mitchell all denied that they knew Pinsky represented the seller in the deal, according to the Post. [Palm Beach Post] –Guelda Voien