Ex-Riviera Beach housing official pleads guilty to extortion

Delvin Thomas allegedly demanded 50% kickback from broker’s commission on a low-income property deal

Attorney Patrick McKamey with 1130 West Blue Heron Boulevard
Attorney Patrick McKamey with 1130 West Blue Heron Boulevard (Loopnet, Mckamey Defense Law, Getty, US District of Florida)

A former Riviera Beach Housing Authority chairman pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge connected to the agency’s purchase of a low-income apartment building four years ago.

Delvin Thomas, 44, admitted to accepting half of a real estate broker’s $18,930 commission from the August 2019 deal. Thomas’ 50 percent cut represented a kickback for getting the housing authority to buy the property the agent had listed, according to his plea agreement. The broker’s name and the property address are not identified in Thomas’ criminal complaint and court documents related to the case.

However, The Real Deal found that on Aug. 28, 2019, the housing authority paid $631,000 for a four-unit apartment building at 1130 West Heron Boulevard in Riviera Beach, records show. It is the only real estate transaction involving the housing authority that month. The $18,390 the broker received represents 3 percent of the sale price, which was the amount of the commission the housing authority agreed to pay, court documents state. The agency still owns the apartment building, records show.

Thomas, who served on the housing authority’s volunteer board from 2010 to 2020, and his attorney, Patrick McKamey, did not respond to requests for comment. The housing authority also did not respond.

In about April 2019, then-chairman Thomas introduced the broker to the housing authority employee responsible for the property purchase, and the agency entered into a contract to buy the property, the plea agreement and criminal complaint state.

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At the time, Thomas demanded half of the broker’s commission for making the introduction, court documents state. In order to hide the “unlawful payment of Thomas’ 50 percent share,” the then-chairman used an unnamed person to act as a front to accept the kickback, prosecutors alleged.

The broker provided the front person with two checks for $6,400 and $3,065, which were deposited into a business account, court documents state. The memo section for the checks falsely stated that the payments were for “company branding” and “marketing services.”

The front person subsequently issued two separate checks to Sire Development Group, a now-defunct company owned by Thomas, for a combined $9,400. The checks’ memo sections falsely stated that the payments were for “consulting services,” court documents show.

Thomas’ sentencing is scheduled for March 23. He faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 maximum fine.

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