Justin Lamar Sternad's Campaign Under Investigation by FBI, Miami-Dade Police
Well, that didn't take long. The bizarre campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad in the District 26 Democratic primary is under investigation by the FBI and Miami-Dade Police Department, according to the Miami Herald. His campaign's deep connections to Republican Rep. David Rivera definitely appear to be more than coincidental. The whole campaign seemed designed to attack a fellow Democrat -- the eventual winner of the primary -- Joe Garcia.
Unfortunately for Sternad, the campaign just couldn't keep its finances straight.
Sternad reported to the Federal Election Commission only an $11,000 loan of his own money to his campaign. The majority of it was spent on registering fees, and his last filing to the FEC showed he had just $120.97.
Yet the campaign somehow spent $43,000 on mailers, many of which targeted Garcia. Hugh Cochran, president of Campaign Data, told the Herald he was paid by the Rivera campaign to compile a list of voters to whom those mailings were ultimately sent. Other sources say the company that printed the mailers, Hialeah's Rapid Mail and Computer Services, was paid in cash-stuffed envelops. The woman who was apparently Sterand's campaign manager, Ana Alliegro, allegedly delivered some of the cash herself. As we learned yesterday, she's a close friend of Rivera's.
Sternard's lawyer, Rick Yabor (who himself has ties to Alliegro), claims the campaign will file new reports with the FEC even thought at this point they'll be late.
Odder still is that Congreesman Rivera was on Spanish-language América TeVe last night. He denied having any connections to Sternad's campaign, but did provide a few FEC reports from Sternad showing he had paid Rapid Mail. (Rapid Mail, meanwhile, is also used by Rivera, and the owners have made donations to his campaign.)
Though Rivera apparently has access to these FEC reports, the Herald cannot find them online, and an FEC spokesman told the newspaper that as of Friday, the reports were not filed.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.