Tuesday, Nov. 7: Another day of reckoning for Miami
“As you go through life, there are thousands of little forks in the road, and there are a few really big forks —those moments of reckoning, moments of truth.” – Lee Iacocca
It is one of the very few times that I have sided with a Ron DeSantis decision. In mid-September, the Florida governor signed an executive order removing Alex Diaz de la Portilla (DLP) from his Miami District 1 commission seat following an arrest on corruption charges — which include money laundering and bribery.
A bloated-faced DLP answered questions defiantly regarding this latest brush with the law as he left the jail after posting bond. And almost immediately thereafter the feisty, but suspended, Miami commissioner issued an email attacking the governor. In it, he said: “Governor DeSantimonious [what Donald Trump now calls Ron DeSantis. We prefer Ron DiSaster.] should be suspending the left-wing Democrat prosecutor who he hand-picked to file these trumped-up charges against me. … I’m not surprised by his action given my strong support for Donald Trump for President, but his 15 minutes of fame will soon be over after his betrayal of Donald Trump, who got him elected.”
Diaz de la Portilla has been in the business (and in his case, I emphasize the word BUSINESS) of politics since his election to the Florida House of Representatives in 1994. Before that, he was instrumental in his brothers’ political races and other leadership positions in the Republican Party starting with Ronald Reagan. Over more than 30 years in office or party leadership roles, DLP:
- Has faced campaign finance and breach of ethics violations numerous times over his 30-year career as an elected politician.
- As reported by the Miami Herald: “Díaz de la Portilla earned the reputation as ‘the bad boy of the Florida Legislature.’ He was known as a late-night partier … and missed more votes than any other legislator, and was censured by the Miami-Dade Republican Party for crossing party leaders.”
- Also from the Herald: “He has positioned himself near the center of power in every government post he has held. But his handling of the role, and the frequent conflicts between his personal and business endeavors, have drawn a litany of legal and ethical challenges, including previous violations of Florida campaign finance laws.”
- In 2007, Díaz de la Portilla agreed to pay nearly $9,000 in fines after successfully challenging $311,000 in fines sought by the Florida Elections Commission.
- Since the 1980s, DLP has had a long law enforcement record, including more than 23 traffic tickets over 12 years, and 16 times he has had his license suspended.
- In 2010, as reported by the Miami Herald, a Leon County Circuit Court judge issued a restraining order to keep DLP away from his estranged wife, Claudia Davant, and the Governors Club, a popular private club in Tallahassee. Davant said in court papers that she had been stalked and threatened and was in “eminent fear for my life.”
Then there’s the case of the city’s Omni Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) which I wrote about last year. Alex Diaz de la Portilla had lusted after the agency and its $68 million-a-year budget since his election to the Miami Commission. He was named commissioner in charge of that agency, later removed from it, and again put in charge of it.
Also, as I wrote last year, DLP “was quickly removed when it was learned that he had ‘employed’ a woman, Jenny Nillo, with a questionable past, to be his ‘eyes and ears at the agency.’” Ms. Nillo was being paid $53,000 a year for a no-show-up-to-work job. Jason Walker, the agency’s former director, fired Ms. Nillo. Diaz de la Portilla threatened to fire Walker. When the city looked into the matter, Diaz de la Portilla was removed from his post at the Omni Redevelopment Agency…
City of Miami elections next month
On Tuesday, November 7, voters in the City of Miami get to decide whether a shady character, Alex Diaz de la Portilla (one of two commissioners and the mayor all in trouble with the law in the city), is returned to the Miami commission seat he once held. This election will tell us much about Miami’s evolution (or devolution) when it comes to the choices made by the voting public. The city does have a history of restoring indicted politicians to their charges, even when found guilty.
Finally, it’s the police. The police union, FOP, has endorsed DLP. My readers know how I feel about cops — especially the bad ones, of which one is too many. And police unions are the biggest culprits in returning bad cops to their jobs. But let me remind you of the case of former police chief, Art Acevedo, who came over and was touted by Mayor Francis Suarez, himself in hot water with large sums of money received from persons doing business with the city, as the “Michael Jordan” of police chiefs. Acevedo promised to rid the city of corrupt cops and politicians.
A number of the top cops in the city, and some in the ranks, did not like the idea of a policeman from elsewhere promising to clean up the city…
Several politicians came to the rescue, including Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Commissioner Joe Carollo, who earlier this year lost a court case and was ordered to pay $63.5 million by a Broward County jury in a lawsuit brought by the owners of Little Havana nightclub, Ball & Chain, who alleged Carollo harassed them for supporting his political rival. Carollo is now seeking relief from the city. He wants the city to pay for his wrongdoing.
Now we have DLP faced with charges of corruption, but still gets a recommendation from the same police department he helped rid of a chief investigating corruption within that same department.
Can you spot a pattern here?
Like I said in the beginning, it’s another reckoning for Miami. Will voters wake up to the facts, or will they go along with politicians who for decades have swayed them with false promises like ridding Cuba of communism, or that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. The lies are so many, but it’s all smoke and mirrors from the likes of politicians like Alex Diaz de la Portilla.
In his specific case, it has been more than 30 years of abuse. But… if he is reelected, then all I can add is that the voters of Miami deserve him.