Broward News

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.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph