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Campbell's Endorsement Of Robaina May Have Had A Price

MIAMI (CBS4) – Former rap star-turned mayoral candidate Luther Campbell says he gave his endorsement to run-off candidate Julio Robaina, after Robaina promised a high level job to a Campbell friend.

In an interview with the Miami New Times, Campbell said he decided to endorse Robaina after the other run-off candidate, Carlos Gimenez, was "hesitant" about promising a job for Pierre Rutledge.

Rutledge is a civic activist and former Miami city commission candidate, who supported Campbell's unsuccessful effort in the mayoral race.

Campbell, in a video-taped interview with the New Times, said he spoke to both candidates about a job for Rutledge and "Gimenez was a little wavering."

Campbell told the magazine that he chose to endorse Robaina after Robaina assured him Rutledge would get a job as a senior advisor.

"Okay, this is the role you're going to play in my administration," Campbell quoted Robaina as saying. "Luke, this is the role he'll be playing in my administration. He'll be a guy that's in there. He's only going to answer to me. He ain't gonna answer to nobody else." Campbell said in quoting Robaina.

In an interview Monday with CBS4's Gary Nelson, Campbell backed away from the New Times interview.

"I only suggested him," Campbell said of the position for his friend Rutledge, insisting that there was no "deal" made. "In order for you to get my endorsement, you got to hire somebody I know? No, that's not the case."

Florida law says it is illegal to give or accept a political endorsement based on a "promise to appoint another person...to any public or private position." Violation of the law is a third degree felony.

Pierre Rutledge declined to speak to CBS4 News when reached by phone at this office at the Miami-Dade school district where he works in operations.

"I am at work. I have no comment," Rutledge said.

When asked if he would be able to comment during his lunch break or after work, Rutledge replied, "Have a great day. I have no comment."

CBS4 News tried unsuccessfully to obtain comment for this story from the Julio Robaina campaign, but repeated calls detailing the nature of the story were not returned.

The Gimenez campaign did not comment today, but stood behind a statement Gimenez issued last week after Campbell unexpectedly endorsed Robaina.

"I was not willing to do certain things that Mr. Campbell was asking," Gimenez said in his statement Thursday. "It is clear that my opponent...made Mr. Campbell an offer he could not refuse."

A citizen has filed a complaint with Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office over the alleged quid pro quo in the Campbell endorsement decision.

Ed Griffith, a spokesperson for the state attorney, said the office had received the complaint and was in the process of reviewing it.

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