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Court Rules In Favor Of Pizzi In Fight For Mayoral Seat

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MIAMI LAKES (CBSMiami) -- The Third District Court of Appeals ruled former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi should get his job back.

On Friday, a three judge panel ruled in Pizzi's favor after he had been fighting for his old job following his acquittal in a federal corruption case.

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After the ruling, Pizzi greeted supporters at Miami Lakes Town Hall.

"This was an amazing victory," said Pizzi. "I'm the mayor of Miami Lakes once and for always."

City of Miami Lakes officials had been fighting to keep their current Mayor, Wayne Slaton, who was elected in a special election after Pizzi was removed from office by Governor Rick Scott. The town insisted Slaton should remain in office since Pizzi's term had run out.

The appeals court had heard arguments on both sides and rules in Pizzi's favor.

"When you are acquitted you get your old job back. That's the way it is in a democracy and I really think at this point it's really ridiculous and disingenuous to keep fighting this thing," said Pizzi.

A resident who asked to be identified only as Omar agreed.

"He's a great mayor and if the prosecutor didn't have their facts straight or proof, they shouldn't have gone after him and he deserves to get his job back," he said.

Others prefer to stick with Slaton.

"We like it the way it is now," said Enrique Goudie, who described the legal battles over the mayor's seat as "a huge soap opera".

Slaton released a statement saying, "I thank the Appellant [sic] Court for their expedited consideration of this case. My attorneys will be reviewing the court's ruling and we will be deciding the most appropriate manner in which to proceed"

Slaton has five business days to ask for a rehearing of the case before the Third District Court of Appeals if he chooses.

Some residents just hope the legal battle will come to an end.

Goudie said, "It's hard when you have two people you like having to fight like this and most of the residents I know say let's just get this over with."

The town of Miami Lakes released a statement saying it will respect the court's ruling and is in the process of reviewing the order.

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