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After Ball & Chain quarrels, chief alleges some commissioners issued arbitrary list to target businesses

In a Sept. 14 memo, Police Chief Art Acevedo said three commissioners issued an arbitrary list to target businesses.
In a Sept. 14 memo, Police Chief Art Acevedo said three commissioners issued an arbitrary list to target businesses.

MIAMI – Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo is not the only one who has ever accused Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo of harassment.

Before Miami Mayor Francis Suarez hired Acevedo to start reforming the police department in April, Bill Fuller and Carollo had an ongoing feud for years.

Fuller, the co-founder and managing principal of Miami-based commercial real estate agency Barlington Group, accused Carollo of pressuring code enforcement officers to target his Ball & Chain bar in Little Havana’s Calle Ocho.

Fuller said Carollo was holding a grudge after he chose to endorse Alfonso “Alfie” Leon, an attorney who ran against Carollo in the November 2017 runoff election for the District 3 seat.

On Oct. 22nd, the popular bar closed after the city revoked its certificate of occupancy.

In a Sept. 24 memo to Suarez and City Manager Arthur Noriega, Acevedo accused Carollo and Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla of producing a list of businesses that needed to be investigated based on nothing more than their “whims.”

Acevedo’s memo didn’t include the list.

He also accused Carollo, Díaz de la Portilla and Commissioner Manolo Reyes of intervening with the department’s internal affairs investigations and of getting in the way of his ability to implement much-needed reforms at the Miami Police Department.

“I want an impartial outside investigator to investigate us and investigate the chief,” Reyes said. “Let’s bring everything out in the open.”

During a bizarre commission meeting on Monday, Carollo, Díaz de la Portilla, Reyes, and Commissioner Jeffrey Watson voted in favor of conducting an investigation by a panel of outsiders, but under the jurisdiction of the commission.

Commissioner Ken Russell, Suarez and Acevedo didn’t attend the meeting at the City Hall commission chambers. Thomas Kennedy, the political director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, was outraged.

“I want to thank Chief Acevedo for detailing how you, you, and you have abused your public office,” Kennedy told Carollo, Díaz de la Portilla, and Reyes during the meeting on Monday.

Carollo is campaigning for reelection. In August, Florida Politics reported his campaign counted on $1.6 million and most of it was from commercial property owners and developers — including the owners of a string of local erotic-themed motels available for hourly rentals.

Miami commissioners are scheduled to hold a special meeting again at 1 p.m. on Friday. The meeting’s agenda includes a discussion item regarding Acevedo and opportunities to adopt resolutions and to amend the city’s budget.

Related story: Carollo distracts with ‘Elvis’ video after Miami chief reports alleged official misconduct

Read Acevedo’s memo


About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.