Among the placards lining the streets ahead of the August 14 elections, you might have noticed a blue-and-red poster with the name "De Yurre." If that rings a bell, there's a good reason: 59-year-old Victor De Yurre is the same guy who escaped a parade of investigations during his eight-year stint as a Miami city commissioner.
Now, 17 years after losing his seat, De Yurre wants to be on the other side of the law: as a judge in the Eleventh Circuit Court.
"The beauty of me is that I've been investigated," De Yurre tells Riptide. "I'm clean, and I've been through it all."
That's for sure. De Yurre, a Cuban-born attorney, won his seat in 1987 at the tender age of 34 after beating future Miami Mayor Joe Carollo. He then spent seven years courting disaster. Here are his greatest hits:
- In May 1989, the feds probed whether he'd disclosed a series of loans from multiple banks used to buy a house in Coconut Grove.
- Later that year, investigators looked into his ties to developer Leonel Martinez, who was arrested in June 1989 for trying to smuggle cocaine and pot into South Florida. De Yurre, who was Martinez's real estate agent, said Martinez was only a client.
- In May 1992, the FBI looked into an alleged misuse of campaign money in his successful 1991 re-election. De Yurre blamed a city official named Pablo Esquijarosa, telling the Miami Herald that "Pablo went to the authorities and gave them some Pablo porridge." He later admitted he couldn't account for roughly $290,000.
- In July 1992, a political consultant said he'd cashed a $10,000 check from De Yurre's campaign and given $7,500 back to De Yurre. De Yurre called his accuser "a sick individual."
- In September 1994, De Yurre was again linked to a drug runner after accepting a $500 contribution from Giovanni Tummolillo, who had been convicted on six federal drug charges. De Yurre said he didn't know him.
Through it all, De Yurre kept coming up clean. He was never charged or indicted, and his political career ended only after he lost his seat to Carollo in 1995. After that, he returned to the private sector with his commercial law firm.
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So why make the jump from practicing law to judging it? "It's something I've always wanted to do," he says. "What better way of being a public servant than being a judge?"
His chances look good. De Yurre has raised more than $30,000 and loaned himself $150,000 for the race. His opponent, lawyer Teresa Mary Pooler, has raised just $6,000 (though she's loaned $105,000 to her campaign).