Armando Codina: State Attorney "Purposely Misled Me" in Spence-Jones Case

Categories: Crime
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Armando Codina
Talk about a hostile witness. Armando Codina, the developer at the heart of a criminal case against ex-Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, repeatedly criticized prosecutor Richard Scruggs on the stand today for "misleading" him. Prosecutors say the $12,500 that Codina gave a charity at Spence-Jones's urging amounted to a bribe, but the developer denied that and says his first meeting with prosecutors was tainted by false information Scruggs fed him.

"I was purposely misled," Codina said in the courtroom hallway after testifying.

Codina's testimony took most of the day. Both sides agree on the basics: In 2006, Spence-Jones's office called Codina to ask for a donation to a nonprofit called Friends of the MLK Trust for an event to honor former Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler.

The call came soon after Codina and developer Ricardo Glas had lobbied the commission to rename a section of SE Second Avenue to Brickell Avenue, in order to give their Met 2 project a more bankable address.

Both Codina and Glas gave $12,500 toward the Carey-Shuler gala.

Prosecutors say that Spence-Jones secretly controlled the nonprofit and used the funds for herself, and that the developer's donations amounted to bribes meant to influence her vote. (The street-renaming issue was eventually dropped when commissioners realized the state would have to approve a name change.)

Codina and Scruggs clashed all day on the stand, as the developer maintained he gave the money only because he respected Carey-Shuler and because he believed the nonprofit to be legit.

"They had Burger King as a major donor, and the money was going to the Dade Community Foundation, so I trusted it as a good donation," he said.

Codina repeatedly echoed a testy deposition he gave in February when he accused Scruggs of misleading him during their first meeting.

On the stand, he said the first he heard of the allegations against Spence-Jones was when a detective called him while he was driving on I-95 and told him: "We have you on video in a bribery investigation."

Codina says he went to Scruggs's office on good faith and that the prosecutor told him the Carey-Shuler event had never happened, that the charity was a sham, and that Spence-Jones was stealing the money.

"I left there feeling ashamed and embarrassed. I thought Michelle Spence-Jones had misused my money," Codina said. "Only later did I find out the event did happen... and that the check was deposited with the Dade Community Foundation as I had expected."

Codina fumed as he talked with reporters after his testimony, but declined to speak about the state's charges that Spence-Jones had misused charity funds.

"I'm going to wait until the matter is over before I decide how to proceed," he said. "I don't have all the facts yet."

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10 comments
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stunningnews
stunningnews

So after an embarassing day when his main witness blows up in his face, Scruggs gets sick. Maybe he knew the following was going to get published, http://investigationmiami.blog....

Scruggs is guilty, and Spence Jones is innocent.

stunningnews
stunningnews

So after an embarassing day when his main witness blows up in his face, Scruggs gets sick. Maybe he knew the following was going to get published, http://investigationmiami.blog....

Scruggs is guilty, and Spence Jones is innocent.

Want vote?  pay $25,000
Want vote? pay $25,000

Armando Cordina wasn't born yesterday. 50 years in the real estate business. It can't have been the first time a sleazy elected official extorted money from him? He is just embarrassed.

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Pay to Play
Pay to Play

Armando Codina is no idiot. He knew when he wrote the $12,500 check and he called up his client to write a $12,500 check that he was paying for Spence-Jones's vote. He wanted her to vote to rename SE 2nd Avenue and she wanted money. It is called pay to play.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Prove it beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. Good luck.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Fuck Scruggs! Tim, why dont you ask Scruggs why he can never set foot in Costa Rica?

Vote for sale
Vote for sale

Spence-Jones was shaking down property owners long before she got elected. Once elected she would sell her vote. Remember The Mercy Hospital rezoning issue? Spence sold her vote. Remember the Marlins bailout? Spence sold her vote.

Who do you think is paying Spence-Jones's attorneys?

stunningnews
stunningnews

you are an idiot with no knowledge and just lying, are you the prosecutor?

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