The Five Most Outrageous Allegations in the Miami Lakes and Sweetwater Mayors' Indictments
Everything about yesterday's arrests of lobbyists Richard Candia and Jorge Forte, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi, and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel "Manny" Maroño on federal bribery charges screams "Only in Miami." There's a paid anonymous informant who happily served up lobbyist Candia as a bagman for corrupt politicians to the FBI. There's Maroño, the mayor of a town founded by Russian circus midgets, introducing undercover G-men to his personal bagman and former North Bay Village Manager Forte during a lovely dinner at a unnamed posh Coral Gables hotel. There's Candia, miked up for sound inside an office closet, handing over an envelope stuffed with $3,000 in cash to Pizzi, a politician once considered a tireless crusader against real estate developers and the rock mining industry.
Michael Pizzi and Manuel "Manny" Maroño
Hollywood could not make this stuff up. Banana Republican has compiled the five most outrageous allegations in the federal indictments in screenplay form:
INT. CORAL GABLES HOTEL DINING ROOM.
Maroño and Forte, along with two FBI agents posing as shady businessmen from Chicago, discuss how the bribes will be handled.
Whenever you guys talk, it's like talking to me.
In Miami-Dade County, you want something from him (nodding to MAROÑO), you don't call him; you call me. It's just the way it works.
He's me. If you talk to him, you talk to me.
I definitely don't want him to be involved in this part of the conversation. How do you wanna handle...
Well, I'd like to do something that's gonna help me kickstart it.
Forte then negotiates three separate payments totaling $20,000 for the Sweetwater scheme.
Forte makes a wire-tapped phone call to the Sweetwater mayor July 2, 2012, to discuss their split of a $10,000 bribe.
Yeah. All good.
All good. OK, cool.
Five, five each.
OK, it's less than we thought, but that's fine.
Yeah, but the rest will probably be at the end of July.
OK, that's fine.
Yes, yes, all good, all good.
I will call you when I head that way.