Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez Silent on Police Corruption

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Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez hasn't said a peep about the corrupt actions of some of his close friends in the Miami-Dade Police Department, which speaks volumes about hizzoner's willingness to combat violations of the public trust when it involves his boys in brown. It's time for Alvarez -- a former county police director -- to step up and say something about the scandals.

Two days ago, the Miami Herald reported that a county audit found high-ranking members of the Miami-Dade Police Department, one of whom is close pals with county Mayor Carlos Alvarez, abused trust funds meant to fight environmental crime.

To get the money, the cops broke county purchasing rules and misrepresented the need for the public grants so they could spend it on items such as cell phones, high-powered assault rifles, SUVs, and a portable air-conditioning unit -- which was found at the house of a detective who doesn't even combat environmental crime.

According to the article, Alvarez's spokeswoman, Victoria Mallette, informed the Herald that her boss was not available for comment, marking the second time in three months that the mayor hasn't said a word about the unethical conduct of cops with close ties to him. The environmental fund was overseen by Division Chief Frank Vecin, a close buddy of Alvarez's.

This past June, Herald reporter Matthew Haggman informed readers that another audit by the Miami-Dade Inspector General found that Alvarez's former chief of staff Denis Morales and six other police officers routinely thumbed their noses at county rules governing outside employment and abused their positions while making more than $400,000 moonlighting as police consultants in Panama.

In this case, the mayor's spokeswoman didn't return Haggman's phone calls. When he first ran for office in 2004, Alvarez talked a tough game, promising he would root out the culture of corruption at county hall. It's time Alvarez walks the walk. He should call a news conference like he did that one time to rebuke Haggman's tenacious reporting about his pals to condemn the unethical actions of his circle of cop friends. Miami-Dade taxpayers deserve it.

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