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Homestead councilman won't answer questions about Carlos Gimenez and Luther Campbell

Homestead City Councilman Jimmie Williams has not been returning our calls ever since Luther Campbell accused Williams of offering him a $40,000 "appearance fee" -- which Campbell interpreted as a payoff to endorse Carlos Gimenez for Miami-Dade mayor.

(Campbell later endorsed Gimenez's opponent, Julio Robaina. Gimenez has said the claim is false. Campbell said Gimenez was not aware of the proposal, and Campbell never told Gimenez about it. Campbell's allegation came after he earlier suggested Robaina offered one of Campbell's friends a job at County Hall -- something Robaina has denied and Campbell later backed away from.)

After a Homestead council meeting Wednesday night, Williams, a pastor who is usually chatty, ran away from a Miami Herald reporter asking him for comment.

The reporter asked Williams if he offered Campbell the money. Williams, who was wearing a hat, looked at the reporter and laughed. He didn't say a word.

Then Williams hopped into his car, driven by a woman, and they drove away.

--CHRISTINA VEIGA AND PATRICIA MAZZEI

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