MIAMI, Fla. – Anyone who follows Miami City Hall knows that drama is standard operating procedure here. On Thursday, Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla kept the drama high, defending an employee of his and his connections to her, saying that both subjects are not at the center of a state law enforcement review.
The commissioner insists that there is no state probe of whether the city employee he got hired is underway. He also said the notion that the woman was doing his personal bidding on the public dime is a figment of someone’s political pot stirring.
“There is no investigation on me, much less of anything,” de la Portilla told Local 10 News.
Investigators have hours of video from security cameras at Miami’s Omni Community Redevelopment Agency office where they say Nillo hardly showed.
“For 11 months, she never showed up for work,” Omni CRA Director Jason Walker said of Nillo.
de la Portilla firmly disagrees. “Jenny Nillo is a good employee, a reputable employee.”
The Miami commissioner got his long-time friend and aide hired. She was paid out of its budget just months after her release from federal prison and while on probation for mortgage fraud.
“It is common practice in the city of Miami to exchange employees – they’re called loaners,” de la Portilla said.
Loaner? A liaison? The commissioner said she was all of these, plus his spy of sorts, because he suspects irregularities at the CRA.
State investigators, however, are looking into allegations that Nillo did personal work for the commissioner in a city car from his district office.
Last week, Miami-Dade police pulled Nillo over in the city car on a traffic stop, though they now say somehow there is no record that it ever happened.
“My sources, which I have a lot of good sources at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement . . .I was there 16 years in Tallahassee as a senator, so I know people. There is no investigation,” de la Portilla said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did reconfirm to Local 10 News on Thursday that there is an active review into the allegations.