Suspicious land deal spurs investigation and intrigue for venerated Miami non-profit

As a former Miami city official, politically connected construction consultant Ola Aluko boasts years of experience putting together complex development deals and handling millions in government grants.

But in one small land deal that turned a six-figure profit, Aluko’s role was curiously obscured.

A few years back, he bought a small tract of vacant land in Overtown for $39,000, creating a shell company to do it. Six months later, the shell company filed paperwork installing a new manager — a 23-year-old Miami woman. The next day, the company flipped the parcel for $150,000.

The new buyer?

St. John Community Development Corporation, a venerated Miami nonprofit — whose president happens to be Aluko. Today, St. John is pursuing a tax-subsidized affordable housing project on the site.

The sale of the parcel at 1643 NW First Ct. underscores the blurred lines between Aluko the businessman and Aluko the head of a prominent nonprofit developer in one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods. It’s a role he has used to obtain millions in government money for…

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