MIAMI – A city of Miami commissioner accused of bribery and money laundering was arrested Thursday on multiple corruption charges, officials said.
Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla and a co-defendant, Miami attorney William Riley Jr., were both booked into the Miami-Dade county jail and were expected to make their first court appearances on Friday, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Separate attorneys for Diaz de la Portilla and Riley both said their clients are innocent and look forward to vindication in a court of law.
Diaz de la Portilla said in a statement that the charges were politically motivated.
“When the smoke clears, I am confident that these spurious charges will evaporate into thin air," Diaz de la Portilla said.
Diaz de la Portilla and Riley accepted more than $15,000 in payments for the Miami-Dade County Court judicial campaign of Diaz de la Portilla’s brother but did not report them, as required by state law, investigators said. Riley also controlled a bank account in the name of a Delaware-based corporation to launder about $245,000 in concealed political contributions made by a management services company in exchange for permission to build a sports complex in the city of Miami, officials said.
Investigators also said that Diaz de la Portilla operated and controlled two political committees used not only to support his brother’s campaign, but also for personal expenditures. Records showed that one of the committees reported total donations of about $2.3 million and the other reported total donations of more than $800,000.
Diaz de La Portilla, 58, and Riley, 48, have each been charged with one count of money laundering, three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, one count of bribery and one count of criminal conspiracy. Diaz de la Portilla is also charged with four counts of official misconduct, one count of campaign contribution in excess of legal limits and two counts of failure to report a gift. Riley is also charged with failure to disclose lobbyist expenses.
Diaz de la Portilla was being held on a $72,000 bond, and Riley was being held on a $46,000 bond.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.