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In the city of Miami, could working from home be breaking the law?

Pandemic may have brought to light need for clearer definitions after lawyer gets violation notice

MIAMI, Fla. – Someone anonymously complained to the city about attorney David Winker who has pending cases against the City of Miami. Now code enforcement is telling him he needs to obtain the proper paperwork to run a business out of his home. Winker maintains he is working at his kitchen table amid the pandemic like so many Miami residents. This incident has a city commissioner wondering if Winker’s case illustrates a need to better clarify related code pertaining to working from home amid the community’s ongoing effort to tamp down on transmission.

Winker has several pending lawsuits filed against the City of Miami on cases spanning developer setback rules enforcement to a petition to recall Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo and ongoing court battles. “We’ve beaten him in court four times in a row,” said Winker.

On Friday, Winker said someone posted a notice on his door with four of the six code violations related to working from home.

Winker said that the notice threatens criminal arrest and fines up to $500 per day for operating a home office. “Imagine the abuela that gets this that is running her seamstress office,” Winkler said. “If I am out of compliance, I would venture to say hundreds of thousands of individuals in South Florida who are working from home are out of compliance.”

The City of Miami said code enforcement is complaint-driven and in Winker’s case, enforcing permitting rules on running a permanent business out of a home came after someone anonymously complained about him.

The complaint is sophisticated, with a detailed itemization of various “exhibits.” Under “Exhibit A” are screenshots of Winker’s social media posts about his cases to include those involving the City of Miami and pertaining to the Carollo legal incident.

“I think I am being targeted,” said Winker.

Local 10 sent an email to Commissioner Joe Carollo asking for a statement, but did not hear back.


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