How is Andre Pierre still running North Miami and not awaiting trial on corruption charges? State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has some splainin' to do after a Miami Herald report this morning ties Pierre even more closely to the corruption charges filed against his nephew last year.
The new tapes from FDLE investigators seem to show that Pierre promised to fix a vote for a local businessman, sent his nephew to pick up cash from him after the vote went in his favor, and then told him: "You got what you wanted."
Pierre didn't respond to calls from the Herald's reporter. Riptide has also emailed him to ask about the latest revelations; if we hear back, we'll update this post.
The latest accusations concern a vote in September 2010 on upping fees for stormwater, sanitation, and recycling services. Shlomo Chelminsky, a local apartment building owner, called the mayor before the vote to ask him to keep the tax monthly so he wouldn't face a year-end lump sum, the Herald reports.
(Chelminsky is the same businessman cooperating with investigators in the ongoing case against Richardo Brutus, Pierre's nephew and former campaign manager. Prosecutors say Chelminsky gave Brutus $3,500 in exchange for getting another item pulled from the city agenda.)
On September 15, 2010, the council voted 4-1 to keep the fees monthly, as Chelminsky wanted -- with only Pierre dissenting. Then investigators caught Pierre on tape calling the businessman the next morning, explaining he had to vote no to make the vote look good. Here's what he said, according to the FDLE investigators recounting the conversation to Brutus:
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"I didn't get a thank you. It's pure politics, I had to vote no. I had to make it look good. I voted no, but you got what you wanted. Pure politics; everyone's got to play politics here."
Brutus then went to Chelminsky's office and picked up a cash-filled envelope, investigators say.
In light of the new tapes, we have to say it again: Indict Pierre already. Compared to the evidence against Michelle Spence-Jones -- the Miami city commissioner whose botched corruption case might have left prosecutors gun-shy of going after sitting officials -- this is a home run.