This past April 22, Robaina named Ponce HHA board chairman. "I guess that was his consolation prize," Martinez says. "Ponce doesn't have the capability or knowledge to run an entity like Hialeah Housing."

In the past few months, he has played a significant role in Robaina's and Cue's campaigns. He gave $200 to Robaina as a contribution. And when New Times recently phoned Robaina's campaign headquarters on West 49th Street, a woman named Chastity said Ponce is "the man in charge of the campaign."

Ponce has also recently pushed HHA management to allow some landlords to charge higher rents, according to two well-placed Hialeah sources. They declined to be named because of possible political fallout. "Ponce wanted the landlords to be in a good mood when he approached them for campaign contributions," one of the sources alleges.

Julio Ponce: Kingmaker
Julio Ponce: Kingmaker

Ponce scoffs at the allegation. He again points out he is nothing more than a campaign volunteer for Robaina and Cue. "I [support them] because they are my friends," he says.

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