Golden Beach has a problem. Its town manager allegedly drives like a gin-addled Gary Busey, and he's in bed financially with the one person — the mayor — who could fire him.
Alexander Diaz, manager of the tiny, wealthy town where Eric Clapton and Ricky Martin have kept vacation digs, is now starting trial for an epic midnight February 24 escapade.
According to Miami-Dade police, Diaz was seen swerving across a median on Biscayne Boulevard near NE 99th Street, going 60 mph in a 35-mph zone. His eyes were "bloodshot" and his speech was "slurred." He failed a roadside test and told cops he had imbibed "one glass of champagne and three Coronas." After Diaz demanded to call an independent breath test provider, but was then overheard talking to his dad, he was booked.
Golden Beach politics
It's not the 34-year-old's first brush with traffic infamy. In 2009, Diaz was arrested for driving drunk and allegedly told a cop: "I am the city manager, bitch!"
Diaz says that DUI was "totally dismissed," and records of the charge have been destroyed. But a search of his driver's license reveals a total of 32 moving violations since 2000, including 13 speeding tickets as well as penalties for driving with a suspended license, going the wrong way on a one-way street, and running red lights and stop signs. Diaz vaguely claims, "My driver's license was used in a fraudulent manner," resulting in the "bulk" of the tickets. But he declined to specify how the license was misused, and there's no indication that anyone else was charged.
In Hollywood, Doug Hewett was recently canned as city manager after being charged with DUI. So why does Diaz still have a job?
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Well, a month ago Diaz and Mayor Glenn Singer bragged to the South Florida Business Journal that they were partnering to open a restaurant called City Slickers Subs & Salads in North Miami this August. Singer now downplays that business relationship. "It was just a small investment in a small investment," he tells New Times.
Even with Diaz pulling in $155,405 annually while awaiting trial, Singer claims his judgment is not compromised: "When the outcome of the [DUI] case is decided, I'll formulate a necessary punishment."
Here's an expert opinion, courtesy of Nova Southeastern University professor Robert Jarvis: "They shouldn't be in a business relationship together. It just makes for an untenable situation."