Where’s Joe? After court loss, Carollo not at Little Havana, Coconut Grove homes — or city hall

MIAMI – Days after his loss in court, Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo has kept a low profile after being found liable for violating the rights of a pair of businessmen and being ordered to pay a $63 million judgment.

No one was at this Little Havana home listed as one of his addresses Monday. In fact, it was empty.

Local 10 News also tried his Coconut Grove house. At Miami City Hall, his parking space was empty.

A federal jury awarded Miami businessmen Bill Fuller and Martin Pinilla the hefty sum because they alleged Carollo violated their First Amendment rights by using his office to harass and damage the reputations of their businesses and tenants.

On “This Week in South Florida,” the plaintiffs explained what this means for the city.

“The city manager and the city attorney are part of his apparatus that allows him to conduct this abuse,” Fuller said.

They are now part of a growing group of voices, including Miami city commissioners, who believe taxpayers should not pay for the damages awarded.

“If the city of Miami steps in to cover this liability, then it’ll never chill another politician from abusing their power,” Fuller said.

As for Carollo’s future and other legal troubles, including the possibility of criminal investigations, former state and federal prosecutor David Weinstein and a frequent legal analyst for Local 10 News, weighed in.

“Unless there are some facts that are not being reported to the public, the public facts don’t lay out any sort of corruption investigation that would be undertaken by a prosecutor,” Weinstein said.

Carollo is almost certain to appeal last week’s verdict.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.