Miami Lakes Councilman Richard Pulido is a petulant bully who thinks state and town laws don't apply to him, judging from his abrasive behavior with other town officials. Councilman George Lopez and town clerk Marjorie Tejeda claim Pulido has been harassing and threatening them over the past three months. "He is unethical, unprofessional, and rude," Lopez says.
We're inclined to believe Lopez after Pulido evaded our attempts to interview him. This past February 19, when we reached him by telephone shortly after 12 p.m., Pulido said he was short on time because that afternoon he was taking his wife on a belated Valentine Day's getaway. The councilman requested a face-to-face meeting early this week to refute the allegations.
We agreed, but then found out that Pulido was seen last Friday night at Miami Lakes Optimist Park for a Haiti relief event. A-ha, but more on that later. Let's get to the dirt on Pulido.
Lopez says Pulido has been pissed at him since this past December. "I put forth an item to cancel the health insurance for council members," Lopez explains. "Shortly thereafter, he calls me up, asking to meet with me because he has an emergency."
Lopez alleges he met Pulido after a December town hall meeting on elderly issues. Pulido was incensed over his proposal, Lopez claims. "He tells me that he can't be without health insurance," Lopez says. "and that if I didn't pull my item off the council's agenda that he was going to be my worst enemy and that he would make my life miserable."
The following day, Lopez continues, he reported the incident to the Miami-Dade ethics commission and public corruption investigators (who could not be reached for comment). In Florida, it is a criminal act to threaten or exert influence over a public servant. By meeting in private, Lopez and Pulido may have also violated the state's open government law.
Lopez says he declined to press further when investigators asked him to wear a wire. "That's just not my style," the councilman says.
Since then, Lopez explains that Pulido is always asking other council members to switch seats so they don't have to sit next to each other during city council meetings. "If he can't get anyone to switch with him I end up seeing the back of his chair all day," Lopez says.
This past January 12, before that month's council meeting, Pulido took out his frustration on the town clerk. Pulido approached her in a "physically
threatening manner and made comments that are demeaning and degrading"
to her, according to an email Tejeda sent town manager Frank Bocanegra two days after the incident.
The 5'1" Tejeda, who declined comment, alleges the 6' Pulido was in her face, yelling: "You and the entire staff are a humiliation to public service. This is
"Councilman Richard Pulido has created a hostile work environment for me," Tejeda wrote. "I am in fear of imminent retaliation as a result of bringing this matter to the attention of multiple parties."
Lopez, who witnessed part
of the incident, explains that Vice-Mayor Nick Perdomo had to intercede
and tell Pulido to back off. "Pulido was right on top of her," Lopez
attests. "He was moving aggressively toward her."
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It now appears Pulido has refocused his aggression on Lopez. After Pulido brushed us off this past Friday, the councilmen got into another confrontation at Miami Lakes Optimist Park around 8 p.m. According to a police incident report, Lopez claims Pulido made "numerous statements which were intimidating and insulting and directed at him."
Lopez tried to ignore his agitator but says Pulido "continued with the insults." Yesterday, we left Pulido two voice mails to get his comments. He still has not replied.
Click here for the Miami Lakes Optimist Park incident report. Read Tejeda's email below: