Exclusive: Miami New Times Finds David Rivera's Missing Pal Ana Alliegro
|Ana Sol Alliegro says she won't plead the Fifth.|
Tucked between a small store selling handmade bracelets and the home of Granada's Roman Catholic bishop, Solá's salon offers haircuts, dye jobs, and manicures to the tourists enjoying sweeping views of Lake Nicaragua.
What her customers don't know, though, is that Solá is really Ana Sol Alliegro, the most sought-after woman in Miami. Ever since she allegedly skipped out on an FBI interview on September 6, the 43-year-old, self-anointed "Republican bad girl" has not been seen or heard from except by close relatives, her defense attorney, and former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, the man whose career sank with an only-in-South Florida scandal tied to Alliegro.
The feds say she's a key witness in a probe into whether Rivera broke election laws by secretly financing a ringer against his bitter rival, Joe Garcia, in the 2012 Democratic primary. Alliegro, they say, ran that ringer's campaign and ferried envelopes stuffed with unreported cash to a company making promotional materials.
Through multiple sources, New Times confirmed that Alliegro had landed in Granada. Confronted on her cell phone, Alliegro agrees to speak to New Times, telling her side of the story for the first time. She strikes a defiant tone, insisting she did nothing wrong, denying that she skipped out on the FBI, and promising to spill everything she knows whenever she decides to return to the States.
"I am not a fugitive," Alliegro tells New Times. "I am tired of being depicted as one." Instead, she compares herself to the title character played by comedian Adam Sandler in the 2008 movie You Don't Mess With the Zohan.
"He was a spy for the [Israeli intelligence agency] Mossad," Alliegro says. "All he wanted was to cut hair like Paul Mitchell and make people feel good. That's how I feel."
Alliegro's story is equal parts personal drama and political intrigue. The latter runs in the family.
|Ana's grandfather Anselmo Alliegro was acting president of Cuba for one day after Fulgencio Batista fled the country.|
Alliegro's dad, Anselmo, who grew up with former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez in Santiago de Cuba, made a failed bid for the Florida Legislature in 1998. He made a living as a security consultant, allegedly helping to train the Contras - the U.S.-funded rebels fighting the Soviet-backed Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
Her grandad was a big part of El Exilio, assisting scores of Cubans fleeing Castro's regime by providing them with free apartments until they got their feet off the ground. He was also known for paying for the funeral services of his fellow countrymen and doing other favors for Cubans in Miami. "Her grandfather was a great man," says Alliegro's mother, Agueda. "She comes from a very honorable family."
Alliegro attended St. Hugh Catholic School and later Immaculata-La Salle High School, where she graduated in 1988. Her own love affair with conservative politics started young. "As a kid, I had a George H.W. Bush watch," she recalls. "All my life, I have fought for the GOP."
Alliegro always twinned her staunch politics with a stormy personal life. A month after graduation, she married a man named Alexander Niebla. Their union lasted just seven months, ending in a January 1989 divorce. Yet they soon got back together, marrying for a second time on November 11, 1989. The couple had a daughter, but the marriage fell apart again after two and a half years. In January 1992, she divorced Niebla.
Alliegro soon enrolled in Miami-Dade College, taking courses in criminal justice and international affairs, then began pursuing a law degree. But conservative politics never stopped beckoning, driven in part by her then-boyfriend, state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla.
Her own political office seeking ventures were halting and unsuccessful, though; separate 2001 runs against state Rep. Carlos Lacasa and County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa both ended in defeat.
Her personal life didn't fare much better. In 2003, she married Moshe Cosicher, a developer 20 years older; she was wife number four of five. Their marriage lasted two years, with him filing for divorce in March 2005. Two months later, Alliegro filed a domestic violence complaint in Broward County against Cosicher. She says he threatened her with a knife and repeatedly punched her in the face at their home in Plantation. "He beat the living bazooka out of me," she says. However, she didn't press charges.
Cosicher flipped the script two years later, though. In January 2007, she was arrested at her Tigertail Avenue home for allegedly holding Cosicher hostage at gunpoint. A police report says after he refused to fly to Las Vegas to get remarried, she grabbed a .45 caliber pistol, sat naked at a desk with her leg up, and compared the gun to a penis. "If you think your [expletive] is powerful (showing the gun), this is mine," Alliegro allegedly told Cosicher.
Alliegro then fired a round into the ceiling, saying: "You see. It's loaded -- this is business." (Cosicher later refused to press charges so a felony count of false imprisonment was dropped. She served six months of probation and received a withheld adjudication on two misdemeanors.)
Alliegro insists that Cosicher set her up. "If I am pointing a gun at you, wouldn't you run the hell out of there?" she asks rhetorically. "He was upset because I notified State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle that he scammed me out of money."