When he was a county commissioner, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla would pass the time spewing hate at Alex Penelas, who was elected Miami-Dade's first executive mayor in 1996. Four years later, when he announced on March 29, 2000, his run for mayor against Penelas, Diaz de la Portilla got all self-righteous, accusing his rival of creating a "culture of cronyism and favoritism toward special interests." Penelas got the last laugh as he won re-election and Diaz de la Portilla finished in third place behind an Anglo candidate. Ay, que pena! Now, the former elected officials are practically bed buddies.
Miami-Dade's online lobbyist registration database shows Diaz de la Portilla -- who is running for state senate -- and Penelas have teamed up to represent ADA Engineering Inc., a company that came in second place for a drainage project at Miami International Airport. According to a memo to county commissioners from County Manager George Burgess, the aviation department is going to rebid portions of the contract after failing to agree to terms with the winning bidder. That means ADA gets a second bite at the apple. That means Diaz de la Portilla and Penelas get to make money together.