Top

blog

Stories

 

Mayors of Miami Lakes and Sweetwater Arrested by FBI on Bribery Charges UPDATED

Categories: Crime

pizzimorano.jpg
FBI agents stopped by two city halls of Miami-Dade towns today and left with their mayors in handcuffs. Both Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel "Manny" Maroño were apprehended on bribery-related charges this morning.

Update: Former North Bay Village Mayor Jorge Forte and attorney/lobbyist Richard Candia have also been arrested, and new details of the charges have emerged.

Maroño is alleged to have received $40,000 in bribes since 2002. His charges are connected to Forte, his business partner in 7 Strategies and friend since High School and Candia.

Candia is also involved in the charges against Pizzi. He's alleged to have received $6,750 from lobbyists and undercover FBI agents.

"This is a sad day for South Florida, this betrayal of our public trust is intolerable," U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said during a press conference. "Our democracy suffers in these cases when elected officials use their power and political influence for personal gain instead of the public good."

Maroño's bail has been set at $250,000. Pizzi's bail is set at $50,000.

FBI were first tipped off the bribery allegations back in June 2011.


Original post:

Pizzi, a former criminal defense lawyer and councilmen, has served as Miami Lakes' mayor since 2008. Ever reform-minded, Pizzi took a high-profile stance against former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas during the election that ultimately threw both Alvarez and Seijas out of office.

Maroño has been mayor of Sweetwater since 2005, where perhaps his most high-profile effort has been as an early advocate of banning synthetic drugs such as bath salts.

The Miami Herald also points out Maroño runs a public affairs and business development and lobbying firm called 7 Strategies with former North Bay Village mayor Jorge Forte. Maroño is also a longtime supporter of Gov. Rick Scott.

Both will be suspended from office by Scott, as per state law, as they await trial.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
37 comments
John
John

jhpbb hhh

John
John

Marono has stayed in power in Sweetwater for a few reasons. 1st they strong arm anyone that would consider running against him (think Sweetwater Mafia) 2nd he has set up all of Sweetwater with people that take the law into their own hands regardless the legalities of it. 3rd his mom Isolina (what a joke) Marono was appointed to a commission seat and although highly unethical due to missing clauses in the writing of the Sunshine Law she (I should say he) got away with it. There was a candidate that had the balls (I believe twice) to run against her in office. Her signage and door hangers consistently disappeared she went to the media and was criticized for not going to the police. Of course she didn't go to the police though because they were the culprits behind it..Duh!  4th Marono's wife holds the cushiest of positions in Sweetwater and does not need to have supporting documentation to get anything passed through the city. 5th The Vice Mayor, well this is when it really gets embarrassing and stupid. Right after Marono was busted the Vice Mayor goes on TV and makes it clear he could care less for the Mayor and if he is guilty or not but is excited to get the chance he never would of had to be Mayor! Surprisingly the Heralds original video is disabled and a more politically correct video was posted on local 10

Alex Hernandez
Alex Hernandez

Sneak peak @ Cuba post-Castro and how the new regime will govern.

fsmith3
fsmith3

Hopefully, the Southwest Ranches/Pembroke Pines, Corrections Corporation of America scam will float to the top of this sewage.

Steve Klare
Steve Klare

What else is new....Miami is turning into a Banana Republic!!

Landry Alexander
Landry Alexander

ML mayor might be MMA fighting Fleece Johnson to keep his manhood in federal lockup, rather than defend his turf and raise funds. If you don't know who Fleece Johnson is, search his name on YouTube.

PERI
PERI

Maroño's mother is a Sweetwater councilwoman.

Nepotism:

The practice of using your power and influence to provide jobs to people in your family instead of to people who deserve to have them.

Scott Daniels
Scott Daniels

Since the 80`s Dade County`s Political leaders must lead the Nation in corruption. Is there another county in the nation that can be this dumb! It`s really hard to believe this continues.

Anastasia Biltmore
Anastasia Biltmore

Miami Lakes and Sweetwater? On bribery charges? YOU DON'T SAY! This is notoriously some of the most crooked real estate in the county.

erngomez
erngomez

really? does this really surprise anyone any more? 

Rodrigo Sepulveda
Rodrigo Sepulveda

I hope so! It's about time politicians stop assuming they are above the law!!!!

Patricia Sbroggio
Patricia Sbroggio

Why do these type of things happen in Florida? Corrupted politicians, police etc.

Rosemarie Baragaña
Rosemarie Baragaña

Hope Gemenez is next for being dictatorish by not honoring our The Pets Trust vote!

kimbrough88
kimbrough88

Iam not surprised .Stay tuned for the next band of thieves.

Jessica Dabee Neaves
Jessica Dabee Neaves

Goes to show you when in power to long it ain't because they really want change they are just paid off

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

@tu madre.... it says miami lakes not hialeah you moron. leave hialeah alone

Tu Madre
Tu Madre

Hialeah and Sweetwater? Shocker!

Fred Gadson
Fred Gadson

It is just the beginning! Some politicians always think they are above the law. Did they not take heed from A-Rod?

Daniel Funes
Daniel Funes

Wait so no more MMA fight between ML mayor and Hialeah mayor?

Agatha Morazzani
Agatha Morazzani

hahahhaha fucking Miami. Even our politicians are ratchet. time to sweat boys, and not the good kind of Miami sweat.

Nancy Faith
Nancy Faith

Miami and corruption ......goes together like cookies and milk!

Brownie Izaguirre
Brownie Izaguirre

Come on! We all know all politicians do something illegal/wrong. This isn't news!

Pierre Bernardo
Pierre Bernardo

Lemme guess: Conservative thieves? Rick Scott supporters?

ughsicles
ughsicles

It is completely shocking to me to equate this bribery with lobbying.  Lobbying is a right protected by the First Amendment.  We have a right to petition our government, and suggesting that it's the same as bribery is disgusting.  


However, we have given too much power to the government to quash competition for the people who are lobbying them.  THAT is unconstitutional, and courts should step up to stop it.  

Also, it's pretty clear that you don't know what the lobbying laws are, in this state at least, when it comes to disclosure.  Unrelatedly, SuperPACs don't give money to politicians.  Please learn a little bit more about what you're talking about.  Thanks.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter


No More Games in Government," they've created a system based completely on bribery. Now, if we do bribery, it's hypocrisy. If we do bribery in the private sector, we go to jail.

Yet, their entire political system is based upon bribery. Who can bribe and give the most money to the politician and now, thanks to our illustrious Supreme Court that ruled that corporations have the same right as individuals and that money is free speech, well, we're now being inundated with so much money from the corporations buying the Democrats and Republicans, both sides, that -- look at this hypothetically, a foreign country could now control our elections, because all they would have to do is form a corporation, start pumping money into the super PACs.make it an enforceable felony for any lobbyist to give assets in any form to a politician. That way, we speak with our tax dollars and we make sure that Congress represents US. Plus there's no -- they don't have to say where the money comes from, which is criminal. Every candidate should have to state openly, open disclosure where they get every dollar. You're not getting that now. So the whole system is corrupted now

erngomez
erngomez

@Patricia Sbroggio If you think this is only in Florida you need to spread your wings and leave the sunshine state. this is world wide. 

PERI
PERI

OH PLEASE.

GO SAVE THE PETS, WHO CARES.

JUST STOP ASKING EVERYONE ELSE TO PAY FOR YOUR PET PROJECTS.

ughsicles
ughsicles

@drakemallard Didn't properly direct my last comment at you, but it was directed at you. 

But I wanted to add that if a foreign person wanted to affect our politics, they could do that without forming a corporation because INDIVIDUALS CAN GIVE AS MUCH AS THEY WANT in independent expenditures, as they should be allowed to do!  Speaking about a topic or politician you're interested in is as American as apple pie.  The only difference with SuperPACs is that they are more than one person giving together, and our government has required you to form a SuperPAC if you're going to speak *together* with other people.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...