The Mayor's Little Helper

When is it OK to hire the mayor's campaign manager?

So let's say you run a foreign company that wants to win a lucrative multimillion-dollar contract at Miami International Airport. As you prepare for your entry into the American market, you realize you need an accountant to help you figure out how to pay taxes to Uncle Sam. And then you hire one who just happens to be best buds with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

What a coincidence, right?

The Spanish firm Sinapsis Trading did absolutely nothing wrong this past May when it hired Coral Gables accountant Jose "Pepe" Riesco while competing for a contract to protect baggage from theft at MIA.

But we had to ask. Did Sinapsis hire Riesco because he was Alvarez's campaign chairman during both of his runs for mayor? Did the company even know he was the point man for the political action committee that supported expansion of the mayor's powers? Maybe it was the fact that the accountant helped Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti win office or that he has signed on to assist Joe Sanchez and Frank Carollo run for, respectively, City of Miami mayor and commissioner?

The company couldn't be reached for comment. Riesco claims there is nothing to worry about. He's not going to speak to the mayor or anyone at the county about Sinapsis. Indeed, he is not registered to lobby on the firm's behalf, according to the county clerk's online lobbyist registration database.

"I am strictly their tax accountant," Riesco asserts. "There is nothing there."

 
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