Julio Robaina Crony Gets $125,000 Annual Salary To Run Hialeah Public Housing

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Julio Ponce hanging at Julio Robaina's campaign HQ.
It pays to be Julio Robaina's lackey. Just ask Julio Ponce, the Hialeah mayor's former business partner who recently received a sweetheart deal to run the Hialeah Housing Authority. Despite only having a high school diploma and no experience in public housing, Ponce was approved for a $125,000 annual salary by the authority's board of directors this past May 19. The only thing Ponce knows about the Hialeah Housing Authority is that the agency has access to a treasure trove of absentee ballot voters, which will be key in the Miami-Dade mayoral race to replace Carlos Alvarez.

In addition to his annual salary, Ponce gets a $900 monthly car allowance and $8,000 a year in covered expenses. If he is fired without cause, Ponce will get a 12-month severance package or six months severance if he is fired with cause. If he resigns, he gets a three month severance.

Not bad for a guy who has been accused of using the Hialeah Housing Authority to promote political campaigns. In 1999, when Ponce successfully ran for a city council seat, an opponent accused him of using his position as the authority's board chairman to round up elderly voters who depended on the city for housing.

When he lost re-election in 2003, a private investigator working on behalf of another candidate, interviewed dozens of public housing residents who claimed Ponce's wife had intimidated them into voting for her husband. A subsequent criminal investigation by a special state prosecutor (the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office recused itself) uncovered several irregularities in how absentee ballots were collected, but did not find enough evidence to charge anyone with a crime.

Since then, Ponce has primarily focused his political activities running a committee that indirectly supports Robaina initiatives, such as opposing slot machines at parimutual sites unless Hialeah Racetrack was included and eliminating term limits in Hialeah.

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Hialeah Housing employees Tony Quesada (top right), Iliana Sanabria (bottom right), and Juliette Almeida (bottom left) having a fun time at Robaina central.
The committee, called Truth For Our Community, has raised $441,923 and spent $416,140 since it was formed in 2008. According to its most recent campaign finance report, the PAC reported a $5,000 contribution from the prominent Miami law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Ponce has been a regular visitor at Robaina's campaign headquarters for the county mayor's race, as well as other housing employees, including property manager Tony Quesada, hot lunch director Iliana Sanabria, and assistant hot lunch director Juliette Almieda. It would be interesting to know how much time Ponce and his subordinates have spent stumping for Robaina when they should be handling the city's public housing affairs.

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14 comments
4675345
4675345

The problem with us hispanics is that we messed up our countries and now are desperately messing this one too.

Sarah Kate Bailey
Sarah Kate Bailey

pathetic I have three degrees and cant even get a good job!!! wtf~ Hire a MBA grad!!!

Iuzzollth
Iuzzollth

If I had $1,208, 855 in my campaign bank from contributions I am sure I could buy votes too.

Matthew Earl
Matthew Earl

Whoever votes for this guy needs to wear a "I voted for Robaina" pin so they can all display how ignorant and dumb they are. This shit only goes down in Miami's Cuban community. smh

Thinkfair1
Thinkfair1

This is crazy. Hiring a man with no experience and a high school diploma.  Some one needs to stop Robaina  before he destroys the county.   Where is the justice system. 

AFOSORIO
AFOSORIO

 TODOS ESTOS POLITICOS SON CORRUPTOS DEBERIAN IR A LA CARCEL. NO HAY JUSTICIA QUE LOS INCRIMINE?

AFOSORIO
AFOSORIO

ESTOS EMPLEADOS PUBLICOS SON UNOS VIVIDORES DE LOS FONDOS PUBLICOS, HACEN FIESTAS CON ELLOS Y NO SON USADOS COMO DEBE SER.

UF1993
UF1993

By the way, this guy Ponce drives the same 7 series BMW that Former Mayor Alvarez drove!! He has been seen at several early voting sites, and I heard that he withheld food from seniors that refused to fill out their ab's in front of Authority staff... Just disgusting!!!

XaaSaav
XaaSaav

 I hope Julio Robaina keeps his promises and fulfills the commitments. Revoke property tax hikes, cut wasteful spending and restore trust, great formula.

Miamianlatin
Miamianlatin

 We need a real change in Miami-Dade county.  No more lies, no more dirty campaigns. Transparency,  responsibility and proven record.

Grant Stern
Grant Stern

 Vote Robaina, Often!  C'mon, whoever has the best cronies should win, right? #Miami

Abe
Abe

call me

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