NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo dropped a bombshell Wednesday on social media, admitting in a video that he's under criminal investigation by the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office.
Vallejo provided no details on the case or the allegations, but Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman had been digging into the case prior to the announcement and attempted to question the mayor about the investigation at Tuesday night's commission meeting.
In a rare occurrence, Vallejo, believed to have been tipped off to Norman's presence, never showed up for the meeting.
He then made the unexpected announcement on video.
Sources close to the city said the case involves a transaction made by a property brokerage firm called Allied Florida Group Inc., which is owned by Vallejo's wife, Sandra Shinego. Vallejo, who at one time was listed as an officer in the company, is a registered real estate broker.
Sources said the mayor voted to give tax credits to a company for which Allied served as real estate broker, but that remains unconfirmed.
Below is the text of the mayor's video statement, which he posted on Facebook and Twitter:
"Dear friends, neighbors and fellow residents of North Miami Beach,
"We've been making such amazing strides in our city. Everywhere you look, you see signs of progress and I don't want to see anything come and derail all of this good work, which is why I am speaking to you today.
"I want to address head on some rumors circulating about an investigation of me by the state attorney's office, and I want you to know the facts, but I want you to know the facts from me directly. And here are the facts: There is an investigation and we are cooperating fully, because we want the truth to come out.
"Unfortunately, in a process that is supposed to be confidential, some lobbyists and political enemies have taken this opportunity to spread malicious gossip in order to smear me and undermine all of the tough decisions we've had to make in order to improve our city.
"Look, I’d like to be able to talk more about it, but there's only so much I can say right now. But I promise you this: No. 1, the truth will come out, and No. 2, nothing will stop us in our mission of moving the city of North Miami Beach forward. Thank you."