MIAMI -- Meeting in special session, Miami City Commissioners voted Saturday to leave the District 1 seat vacant until the Nov. 7 general election when voters will decide to re-elect Alex Díaz de la Portilla to the post or send him packing.
Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended theafter he was indicted on several criminal charges stemming from a corruption probe by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Diaz de la Portilla, 58, is facing a host of criminal charges, including one count of money laundering, three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, one count of bribery, one count of criminal conspiracy, four counts of official misconduct, one count of campaign contribution in excess of legal limits and two counts of failure to report a gift, the FDLE has previously said.
Attorney William W. Riley Jr. 48, of Miami, is also facing a litany of charges, including one count of money laundering, three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, one count of bribery, one count of criminal conspiracy and failure to disclose lobbyist expenses, according to a written statement by the FDLE.
Investigators said they found evidence that Diaz de la Portilla and Riley Jr. accepted more than $15,000 in payments for Diaz de la Portilla's brother's Miami-Dade County Court judicial campaign but did not report them, as required by Florida law.
One day after his arrest, Diaz de la Portilla, whose district includes Allapattah, the Health District, Spring Garden and parts of Flagami and Little Havana, wasunder an order signed by Gov. DeSantis.
Under the city's rules, commissioners had 10 days to decide how to fill the seat: call for a special election or immediately fill the seat with a replacement commissioner.
The decision means voters will decide during the November election whether to return Díaz de la Portilla to the seat or elect one of his three challengers: Miguel Gabela, an auto parts retailer, Francisco Pichel and local business investor Marvin Tapia.
Asked about his message to voters by the Miami Herald, Díaz de la Portilla reference the electoral support he received in the 2019 election.
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