Doral's city manager accuses mayor of using position for public gain

DORAL, Fla. – Doral's new city manager continued a simmering, public feud with the city's mayor at a council meeting Tuesday night by accusing the mayor of trying to use his position for public gain.

One issue on the evening's agenda involved a discussion about the mayor's interest in getting Florida Power and Light Company to bury power lines on a stretch of Northwest 107th Avenue where a former business associate owns land.

Mayor Luigi Boria has already directed some staff to contact FP&L about the plan, a move that violates a city protocol mandate to move such issues through the council first.

Carollo's monologue quickly turned to the development of the land on which multimillion dollar homes are planned to be built.

"I'm not going to allow your greed to give Doral a black eye," Carollo said.

Boria quickly vacated the meeting, recusing himself for ethical reasons.

"I had to recuse myself while the manager talked about Grand Floridian.

"It just doesn't pass the smell test -- it is a little controversial," said Vice Mayor Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera.

The land is owned by developer Juan Tovar, a former investment partner with the mayor. The mayor's children were also part owners of the land until recently when they sold their share to Tovar by loaning him the money to buy them out, according to an investigation by El Nuevo Herald.

Documents outlining plans for the million-dollar home development called Grand Floridian show the utilities and power lines would be underground. But nothing in the documents indicate the developer's assumption that public money would pay for it.

The city has no background or research materials backing up the discussion planned for the council meeting, leaving the rest of the city leaders wondering.

"There is nothing on the public record as to what he told the manager and the attorney," said Vice Mayor Rodriguez-Aguilera.

Tovar is the same developer who turned himself in for arrest last week. He is accused of filing a false police report that claimed Doral City Manager, Joe Carollo, cursed and shoved him during a meeting city hall.

That same day of the arrest, Boria tried to have Carollo fired. At the time Boria accused Carollo of taking unapproved time off and expensive trips on the taxpayer's dime. But the council did not back Boria.

"His conduct is not appropriate for a city manager," Boria said. "He abused his power."

"Two weeks ago he said the manager was doing a fabulous job," said Rodriguez-Aguilera. "Nothing has changed since then."

Boria did finally return to the meeting Tuesday night. He has many times been accused of allegedly attempted to unlawfully use his elected official position for personal gain, involving several projects.

"I'm not afraid of anything," said Boria. "If you want to go to the FBI, go."

About the Author: