People living in Miami Lakes expressed their disappointed after Mayor Michael Pizzi was arrested on public corruption charges.
FBI agents arrested Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroñ in separate public corruption cases Tuesday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspended both mayors later in the day.
"It's sad for our town right now. It's very said," said Denise Rodriguez, a realtor. "We boast about how the city is such a small little town and how it's so different from the big cities."
"People are shocked because he did a lot for the town," added Adele Leonardo.
According to the complaint, lobbyist Richard Candia introduced Pizzi to undercover FBI agents who were posing as the owners of a Chicago-based grant administration business. The agents told Candia they could get federal grant moneys with the help of elected officials.
Pizzi helped the FBI agents apply for federal grant moneys in Miami Lakes and Medley, where he serves as town attorney, said the complaint.
"Pizzi backdated a document that endorsed the undercover agents' company and Pizzi also handled -- what he believed -- to be an audit telephone call from the federal grant auditors in order to confirm the grantee's performance on the grants, and during that call -- which was also recorded -- Pizzi lied and misled the auditor, who was in fact a FBI undercover agent," said Wifredo Ferrer, the U.S. State Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Read: Michael Pizzi complaint |
"We are all surprised and very saddened by the events that have occurred today," said Miami Lakes Vice Mayor Cesar Mestre. "We will continue to work. All the pieces of the puzzle are there and we will continue working diligently for our residents."
"I'm glad that they caught up to him because he was not a nice guy," said business owner Omar Bahamondi.