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Miami commissioner to resign amid investigation

Posted on November 14, 2009 3:00 AM EST

Miami Commissioner, Angel Gonzalez, agreed to resign as part of a negotiated deal with the Miami-Dade County State Attorneys Office. The Miami criminal lawyer representing Gonzalez would not admit that his client agreed to resign in lieu of being arrested. Another Miami-Dade commissioner, Michelle Spence-Jones, is also currently under investigation. The current investigation involves a job that Gonzalez obtained for his daughter.

The current investigation is Gonzalez's second brush with the law. He served as a director of the Allapattah Business Authority in the 1990's. The agency became embroiled in voter fraud that occurred in the 1997 election. Gonzalez pled guilty to charges including voter fraud. He received a 'withhold of adjudication' and one year of reporting probation. Because Gonzalez was not convicted, he remained eligible to run for office.

Despite his criminal record, Gonzalez won the Miami commissioner's seat for District 1 in 2001. He also won re-election bids for the same seat in 2003 and 2007. Gonzalez was also investigated this year for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure forms. He failed to report $135,000 in rental income he received since 2005. With the assistance of his Miami criminal attorney, Gonzalez amended the financial forms and paid a nominal fine.

Spence-Jones is being investigated for approving thousands of dollars in grant money to a business owned by the Spence-Jones family. Her Miami criminal defense lawyer did not believe his client will be formally charged by the state attorney's office. In May, the state attorney's office cleared Spence-Jones of allegations including bribery and paying out illegal kickbacks.

The ongoing investigations in to official misconduct are in full force as the new mayor of Miami took office this week. Miami has for years been the focal point of political corruption on the local government level. Miami has also become well-known for cocaine trafficking, mortgage fraud and Medicare fraud. With all of the investigations and criminal prosecutions that occur in Miami, the justice system will never be short of business.

Miami Commissioner Angel Gonzalez to Resign Amid Probe, The Miami Herald, November 11, 2009.
Categories: Public Corruption