Hearing held after Raquel Regalado sues incumbent Miami-Dade mayor over payment mishap

No decision made Friday by judge


MIAMI – A hearing was held Friday after Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado filed a lawsuit against incumbent Mayor Carlos Gimenez

Regalado claims that Gimenez did not properly pay the $1,800 qualification fee when he filed for re-election, because his campaign treasurer wrote "2015" instead of  "2016" on a check by mistake.

A judge ordered an elections office staff member to be legally deposed over the weekend to figure out where the incorrectly dated check went before a valid check was issued later.

"We have been asking for the information that we're going to get in tomorrow's deposition for months. And they have refused to provide us with the information," Regalado said after the hearing.

"While we have not seen the actual lawsuit yet, the allegations in Ms. Regalado's press release are without merit and, frankly, bizarre," Gimenez spokeswoman Gabriela Castillo Madrid said Thursday in a statement. "A valid qualifying check was presented to the elections department before the end of the qualifying period and was cleared by the bank for payment. Nothing else is required by law. Mayor Gimenez, as the first-place finisher in the primary election, is obviously a properly qualified candidate in this runoff. Ms. Regalado's desperate campaign is once again resorting to frivolous tactics to try and thwart the will of the voters of Miami-Dade County."

Gimenez said a new check was submitted a day before the deadline after he was notified about the mistake.

Regalado is running to unseat Gimenez in next month's election. Neither candidate received enough votes in August, which sent the race to a runoff.

Regalado is the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. She resigned her seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board to run against Gimenez, who was first elected mayor in 2011.