At an anti-gun rally in Charles Hadley Park this morning, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and arch enemy/police chief Miguel Exposito blasted one another before TV cameras.
The whole thing started like Sharks vs. Jets about 10 a.m. when Regalado was holding forth to a horde of reporters and a couple dozen neighborhood types at Liberty City Park. The event was held to prevent July 4 gun safety problems.
The mayor claimed he didn't know that Exposito had been offered $400,000 to resign -- a fact that was disclosed yesterday by blogger Al Crespo. That offer was confirmed by former city finance chief Larry Spring. Regalado strongly criticized the timing of the chief's disclosure: "If that offer was made, he should have reported it to authorities months ago," Regalado said. "I am very concerned about the city's image as we work on a new budget."
Minutes into the press conference, Exposito strolled up the street surrounded by a cadre of senior police officials. He confirmed the $400,000 offer but declined to say who made it. He also said he "would neither confirm nor deny" whether federal or state authorities are investigating the offer. But when a reporter asked whether it would be naive to think a senior police official would not report an offer like this to lawmen, Exposito laughed and said, "Yes, it would be very naive."
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Exposito said he only went public with the allegation because blogger Al Crespo posted documents that confirmed the offer.
As Exposito blasted the mayor, Regalado stood feet away chatting quietly with his aides.
Adding to the tense scene, Commissioner Richard Dunn also appeared and criticized Chief Exposito. As he glared in Exposito's direction, he said, "[The chief] is a a desperate man desperately trying to keep his position." Asked whether he knew of the payout offer, Dunn said, "Hell, no." He then reiterated that the chief should be fired.