Best Local Girl Gone Bad Miami 1999 - Marie Rovira
Tough couple of years for the 36-year-old Hialeah native. Now that she's awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in April to federal corruption charges, the great irony is this: She's in a tight spot, facing up to ten years in prison, because some of her pals wanted to help her out of a tight spot. After being elected to the Hialeah City Council in 1993, Rovira earned a reputation as a close ally of Mayor Raul Martinez. Sadly her third marriage ended with a contentious divorce in 1996; she got custody of her two children but lost her banquet-hall business. In July of that year she got a job with the Port of Miami, for $39,799 per year, as an "international trade specialist." But as the investigation of former port director Carmen Lunetta heated up, Rovira's post was revealed to be among the alleged "no-show" jobs Lunetta had doled out as favors to his political allies. In mid-1997, then-County Manager Armando Vidal fired her. Her fourth marriage went into the crapper in early 1998. In her search for new work, she turned to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, applying for a teaching position (with a résumé that included the port job). She was hired as a replacement social studies teacher for the 1998-99 school year, but federal prosecutors cut short her teaching and political careers in November, arresting her as part of the port scandal. The school district allowed her to resign, and the governor suspended her from the city council. A phrase Rovira might want to incorporate into her lexicon once she gets out of the slammer: "Don't do me any favors!"