By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
In a separate deal five years later, and two years after being elected mayor, Robaina and his sister loaned $300,000 to the wife of Roberto Blanco, who at the time was owner of Galloway Towing Services Inc., which provided towing for the police department. Like his transaction with Sanchez, Robaina did not list the loan as an asset on his 2007 and 2008 financial disclosure forms. He did include the loan in his 2009 statement.
Bolaños and Morales claim Robaina again violated Florida's elected officials code of ethics by entering into deals with city vendors. Robaina's detractors have also focused on the mayor's business relationship with Luis Felipe Perez, a flashy Hialeah diamond jeweler whom the feds have criminally charged with running a $40 million Ponzi scheme. Perez showered political campaign contributions on Robaina, Martinez, and many other Miami-Dade elected officials, but only Robaina has publicly admitted to doing business with the accused scammer. MR Holdings Co., a corporation owned by the mayor's wife, Raiza Villacis-Robaina, loaned Perez $100,000 in September 2006 at an annual interest rate of 18 percent. According to Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts records, Perez paid off the loan in 2007.
In an article that appeared in El Nuevo Herald this past June 5, Robaina claimed he was aware of the alleged Ponzi scheme 18 to 24 months before Perez was indicted. Robaina said, "I knew the problem because my wife was cheated. I cannot give details because it is in the hands of the lawyers."
Bolaños posted the Herald article on his Facebook page this past August 8 with the following comments: "When you know for the past 18-24 months that the GIVER is a TAKER and that the funds MAY come from victimized citizens, THEN, my friends, there is something WRONG with ROBAINA's standards of ETHICS."
Morales, who provided copies of the loan documents to city council members and New Times, says the goal is to expose Robaina. "There is a serious lack of ethics by the mayor," Morales says. "Robaina has a clear conflict of interest. This guy is not on the up-and-up."