Commissioner: ‘You make me want to vomit’ as Miami meeting gets personal

A sparring match at a Miami commission meeting gets heated and personal.

MIAMI, Fla. – There have been some nasty showdowns at Miami City Hall, but the verbal brawl at the Miami Commission meeting on Thursday is one for the record books.

It was when Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo went on the attack blasting his one time friend and ally Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

“You have been the biggest disappointment in my political history,” Carollo said.

The fierce debate was over Jenny Nillo, a longtime friend, supporter and worker for Diaz de la Portilla. He got her a cushy job at the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, but the boss there said she rarely showed up for work.

“There is nothing here that’s criminal,” de la Portilla fired back.

The heated exchange followed an investigation by Local 10 News that she was being paid as an employee of the Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency while allegedly doing personal bidding for de la Portilla.

Nillo is an ex-con, convicted of mortgage fraud, so Carollo passed an emergency ordinance forbidding anyone on probation or under criminal investigation from working for a commissioner.

“It is immoral and unjust for you to act like a judge and jury and attack a woman who has not done anything wrong,” de la Portilla said.

The ordinance passed 4 to 1, then Carollo got Diaz de la Portilla kicked out as chairman of the Omni CRA.

“You attack people publicly,” de la Portilla said to Carollo. “You’re famous for it. You’re known for it. It’s your m.o.”

That’s when the sparring really began with Carollo saying: “You make me want to vomit. You have no conscience. You have no heart. You are the lowest thing that I have seen in politics . . . that you do not deserve to hold public office.”

The bromance is over between Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla. Carollo emerged stronger than ever while Diaz de la Portilla came out a bit weaker. And Jenny Nillo is out of a job.

Good theater, bad government.

About the Author:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter.