By Terrence McCoy
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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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In North Bay Village, the mayor is a guy who hasn't paid his mortgage since March 2008, owes the IRS more than $200,000 in unpaid taxes, and built an illegal second-story addition to his residence at 7520 W. Treasure Dr. You could say Oscar Alfonso enjoys being the Man while sticking it to the Man. "Alfonso is a real nightmare," says his neighbor James Carter. "And he is always on the edge of the law."
The 54-year-old politician has shown a blatant disregard for his financial responsibilities and ethical conduct, Carter says. He's not alone. Last month, North Bay Village Vice Mayor Rey Trujillo criticized Alfonso because he failed to abstain from voting to rehire a police officer who is a friend. The cop, Sgt. Steve Abramson, had been fired three years ago after an internal affairs investigation into complaints that included sharing confidential information about criminal investigations with non-law enforcement city officials.
In 2004, Alfonso, a director for Primerica Financial Services, was elected to the city commission of the tiny, three-island community on the John F. Kennedy Causeway. Four years later, he won the mayor's seat. He rose to the top despite showing an utter lack of respect for the city's laws. For example, on April 17, 2002, the city's building official declared his house an "unsafe building." The following year, his residence was again cited as unfit to live in.
City Manager Matthew Schwartz tells Riptide the city is finally cracking down on Alfonso. "He has until March 19 to pass final inspection," Schwartz explains. "When it comes to code enforcement of elected officials, you have to be more stringent."
Even if Alfonso, who declined to comment, gets his house up to code, he might still be forced out. Allied Mortgage & Financial Corp., which loaned him $550,000, is seeking foreclosure. According to the firm's complaint, filed July 18, 2008, Alfonso has not made a monthly payment since March that year. What's more, he has not paid $9,926 in property taxes owed for 2008 and 2009. But that's nothing compared to what the mayor owes Uncle Sam. On February 18 last year, the IRS slapped him with a lien for failing to pay $223,886 in income taxes from 2000 to 2004.