July 27, 2005

Miami politician kills himself at newspaper office

MIAMI (Reuters) - A former Miami city commissioner shot and
killed himself in the lobby of The Miami Herald newspaper
building on Wednesday, five days after pleading not guilty to
corruption charges.

Arthur Teele, 59, shot himself in the head at the newspaper
building and died at a hospital about two hours later.

The Herald said on its Web site that Teele gave a security
guard a message for one of the newspaper's columnists -- asking
him to tell Teele's wife, Stephanie, that Teele loved her --
then took a gun out of a bag, held it to his head and pulled
the trigger.

Teele pleaded not guilty on Friday to federal charges of
defrauding Miami-Dade County by helping an electrical
contractor use a front company to win airport contracts. He
faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

He was convicted in March of threatening a Miami-Dade
County police officer and sentenced to probation. He also was
awaiting trial in state court on charges of taking kickbacks
from a contractor in a neighborhood revitalization project.

Teele had been a Miami commissioner since 1997 until Gov.
Jeb Bush removed him from office last year.