Miami-Dade County is the NBA for corrupt politicians: With a deep talent pool, incredibly rich history, and always blossoming crop of new stars, it's the top of the game for shady politicos. And David Rivera is the Derrick Rose of the league, a multitalented scandal machine who's been sidelined the past couple of years by a pesky federal investigation that's already resulted in one conviction and an indictment of one of his top aides.
But now Rivera is back in the game! The former representative announced on MegaTV last night that he'll run for his old seat in Congress, despite the fact that the feds still might hand down an indictment any day.
In his appearance on the show Ahora con Oscar Haza, Rivera blasted the Miami Herald and accused the daily of cooking up the case against him. He also said he'd run to regain the seat he lost in 2012 to Democrat Joe Garcia.
Just to run down the most serious ongoing case against Rivera: During the Democratic primary involving Joe Garcia, the then-sitting congressman allegedly persuaded a local hotel employee named Justin Lamar Sternad to run against Garcia in the hopes of derailing his campaign. Rivera's aide Ana Aliegro is accused of illegally funneling Sternad money.
Sternad has already pleaded guilty in the case, and Aliegro, who recently returned from Central America, where New Times found her working covertly in a hair salon, was charged in March with election fraud.
It's just the latest in a series of headaches for Rivera, who was named "Most Corrupt" congressman by a nonprofit group, faced three investigations while in his seat, organized a questionable $1 million gambling consulting fee for his mom while lobbying for gambling changes, and lied repeatedly about how he made his living.
So far, he's avoided any criminal charges himself, though. And he's right about one thing: Garcia, who replaced him in Congress, hasn't avoided controversy himself, with multiple staffers getting embroiled in an absentee-ballot scheme.
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If there's any clear winner with Rivera getting back in the race, it might be the other Republican already running, school board member Carlos Curbelo. Releasing this statement, Curbelo wasted no time slamming Rivera for thinking of returning to politics:
"I just got the news and wanted to make sure that you heard it from me: David Rivera is going to run for Congress again, despite being under investigation by federal agencies for serious allegations that, like Joe Garcia, he participated in a fraudulent scheme to influence an election. I believe that our district deserves better. We deserve someone who is looking out for us, not themselves. As I talk to the people of this district, it is clear that they are ready for a change. We deserve better, and that is why I am running for Congress."