Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina Was Unfairly Trashed by the Media
The Miami-Dade mayoral primary is only two months away, and the election is set for November 6. Yet we haven't even answered the most scintillating mystery of the last go-round. What crime did Julio Robaina, Hialeah's ex-mayor who unsuccessfully ran for Dade's top spot last year, commit? The State Attorney's Office is sure trying to find out.
On April 13, public corruption prosecutors grilled me for almost three hours about what Robaina had promised me in exchange for my endorsement in his runoff against (now county mayor) Carlos Gimenez. Nothing ever came of it. (I placed fourth in the May 24 election.)
Why would they waste taxpayer money investigating two guys who lost the election? And that was just one of the bogus criminal complaints against Robaina.
When the man who had served as both councilman and mayor of Hialeah was the frontrunner getting all the headlines, media outlets including Miami New Times and Miami Herald claimed he was under federal investigation for alleged acts of loan sharking, mortgage fraud, and tax evasion involving Luis Felipe Perez, a Hialeah jeweler who pleaded guilty in 2010 to operating a $45 million Ponzi scheme. Robaina always maintained he was one of Perez's victims, but that doesn't make for a juicy article.
The media also made a big stink about Robaina being supported by the gambling maquinitas industry. But Gimenez is beholden to gambling special interests too. His political action committee Common Sense Now has accepted $10,000 from owners of Magic City Casino and $10,000 from Genting, the Malaysian company that wants to convert the Miami Herald property into a resort-based gambling den. Heck, Gimenez just hired a Genting lobbyist, Jesse Manzano-Plaza, to be his campaign manager. Plus the county mayor is also taking campaign contributions from people who supported Robaina, such as Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti, who has raised $17,000 for Gimenez's re-election.
Robaina's character was assassinated. Apparently, his name was unjustly dragged through the muck, because here we are more than a year later and he is still a free man. The media -- and the political hacks who deal in misinformation -- lied to the public to make sure he would not win the election. For all we know, he could have been the greatest mayor in Miami-Dade history.
The unfair coverage of Robaina proves you can't believe everything you read or what Michael Putney says on his Sunday political show, This Week in South Florida. While conventional media dies and Internet sites regurgitate most of the news, truth is the loser. So are the people who want to elect only the best leaders.
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