Mayor lashes out at ‘political pornography’ in
Miami Lakes mailers
Courtesy of The Miami Herald
October 16, 2016
Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi beat the rap at his
federal bribery trial, but inevitably it was going to be a political
liability as he pursued a third term in November.
Tens of thousands of mailers
portraying Pizzi as corrupt and untrustworthy have been
sent to the town’s voters in English and Spanish over
the past two weeks.
“It’s political pornography,” Pizzi complained to the
Miami Herald. “It’s disgusting. It’s repulsive.”
It’s the handiwork of a Republican consultant based in
Jensen Beach — financed by a political action committee
called Leadership for Florida’s Future, with nearly
$500,000 in donations from unidentified contributors.
The PAC’s chairman, Michael Millner, has mounted similar
campaigns against other politicians, from Tampa to
Lakeland to West Palm Beach, according to published
reports. Millner did not respond to a phone message
One of the PAC’s mailers attacking Pizzi says he was
charged with taking bribes, then “sticking” Miami Lakes
taxpayers with $2.51 million in legal bills.
Pizzi, 53, was acquitted in August 2014 of accepting
cash bribes in an FBI sting operation. But he was forced
to sue GOP Gov. Rick Scott after he refused to lift his
suspension, normally a formality when a politician is
cleared of a crime.
After he prevailed against the governor, Pizzi then had
to sue his own town of Miami Lakes to gain reinstatement
the following April. The town council agreed to pay his
lawyers $460,000 for the cost of that dispute.
But Pizzi’s attorneys are still seeking $2.25 million
for his criminal defense. Settlement negotiations with
the town’s insurer are under way.
Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi
Pizzi, an attorney, faces two challengers in the Nov.
8 election: Wayne Slaton, 64, an electrician who served two terms as
mayor after the town’s incorporation in 2000, and incumbent Councilman
Manny Cid, 33, a commercial property manager and former legislative aide
who was raised in Miami Lakes.