MIAMI – A recent political flyer distributed in Miami-Dade County epitomized the meaning of a published “hit piece.” Even more embarrassingly, it included a typo. Instead of “public,” the author wrote “pubic.”
The flyer’s content is peppered with lies. The author falsely accuses Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Fred Seraphin of refusing to “release his arrest record” and of having a “criminal past.”
To support the misleading “criminal past” allegation, the author of the flyer twisted the context of an old news report and likely banked on no one actually looking it up and reading it.
What the journalist actually wrote in that report is that as a college student Seraphin was the victim of racial profiling when he was arrested and falsely accused.
Seraphin was released and prosecutors never charged him with a crime. He was innocent and he has referred to the experience in public as the impetus of his distinguished legal career.
It’s a story that former Gov. Jeb Bush knew well when he appointed Seraphin in 2001 as Miami-Dade County’s first Haitian-American judge. He is running for the County Court Group five nonpartisan race.
Seraphin’s opponent on the ballot is Renier Diaz De La Portilla, who was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2007 and served as a member of the Miami-Dade School Board and a former state representative.
De La Portilla’s well-known Cuban-American brothers are Miguel, a former Florida senator, and Alex, a Miami commissioner who admitted to being behind the information on the flyer.
The Proven Leadership for Miami-Dade, a Political Action Committee based in the south Dadeland area, funded the deceitful propaganda. It’s the sort of behavior the Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee frowns upon.
The PAC’s campaign finance records go back to 2018 with expenditures that as of July 15 added up to more than $1.6 million. That same PAC funded a mailer that Renier Diaz De La Portilla used while campaigning for Miami-Dade District 5 commission seat in 2020.
In that “looters, vandals and agitators have invaded our streets” mailer, the PAC was accused of misusing a Miami Herald-owned photograph by Al Diaz without permission. It showed a Black Lives Matter protester who was standing against the killing of George Floyd.
Diaz De La Portilla lost that election.
The next primary election is on Aug. 23 and the general election is on Nov. 8. For voter assistance, call The Florida Division of Elections at 1-866-308-6739.
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