^
Keep New Times Free
4

Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis Rejected Fake Offer That Brought Down Miami Mayors

Last week feds nabbed Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi, and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono in a bribery sting that landed both men in the slammer.

Former North Bay Village Mayor Jorge Forte and lobbyist Richard Candia were also arrested in the sting.

Turns out, Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis was approached by the same undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen with a scheme to get the mayors to fatten up their personal bank accounts.

But Ortis wasn't biting.

Marono is alleged to have received $40,000 in bribes since 2002. Candia allegedly received $6,750 from lobbyists and undercover FBI agents.

According to the feds, Forte and Marono identified Ortis as a possible public officials that "might participate in the same type of grant scheme with their respective municipalities."

Forte and Marono met with Ortis, and he then put the item on the City Commission agenda last year.

But that's as far as it went.

Apparently, the FBI scheme involved two fictional Chicago businessmen who could obtain federal AmeriCorps grants for any given city.

But, this grant money would then be split between and pocketed by the Chicago businessmen, the lobbyists, and the mayors.

In order to make it all legit, a city would have to pass a resolution so that the fake businessmen could apply for the grant for the city.

Ortis didn't take it that far.

"I was one of the ones who didn't take the bait," he told the Sun-Sentinel.

Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter



I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.