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The Five Most Outrageous Allegations in the Miami Lakes and Sweetwater Mayors' Indictments

Everything about yesterday's arrests of lobbyists Richard Candia and Jorge Forte, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi, and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel "Manny" Maroño on federal bribery charges screams "Only in Miami." There's a paid anonymous informant who happily served up lobbyist Candia as a bagman for corrupt politicians to the FBI. There's Maroño, the mayor of a town founded by Russian circus midgets, introducing undercover G-men to his personal bagman and former North Bay Village Manager Forte during a lovely dinner at a unnamed posh Coral Gables hotel. There's Candia, miked up for sound inside an office closet, handing over an envelope stuffed with $3,000 in cash to Pizzi, a politician once considered a tireless crusader against real estate developers and the rock mining industry.

See also: Mayors of Miami Lakes and Sweetwater Arrested by FBI on Bribery Charges

Hollywood could not make this stuff up. Banana Republican has compiled the five most outrageous allegations in the federal indictments in screenplay form:

Scene 1

INT. CORAL GABLES HOTEL DINING ROOM.

Maroño and Forte, along with two FBI agents posing as shady businessmen from Chicago, discuss how the bribes will be handled.

MAROÑO (pointing to Forte)

Whenever you guys talk, it's like talking to me.

FORTE

In Miami-Dade County, you want something from him (nodding to MAROÑO), you don't call him; you call me. It's just the way it works.

MAROÑO:

He's me. If you talk to him, you talk to me.

Maroño excuses himself from the table, leaving Forte alone with the FBI agents.

FORTE

I definitely don't want him to be involved in this part of the conversation. How do you wanna handle...

UNDERCOVER G-MAN

The payment?

FORTE

Well, I'd like to do something that's gonna help me kickstart it.

Forte then negotiates three separate payments totaling $20,000 for the Sweetwater scheme.

END SCENE

Scene 2

INT. OFFICE

Forte makes a wire-tapped phone call to the Sweetwater mayor July 2, 2012, to discuss their split of a $10,000 bribe.

FORTE

Yeah. All good.

MAROÑO (V.O.)

All good. OK, cool.

FORTE

Five, five each.

MAROÑO (V.O.)

OK, it's less than we thought, but that's fine.

FORTE

Yeah, but the rest will probably be at the end of July.

MAROÑO (V.O.)

OK, that's fine.

FORTE

Yes, yes, all good, all good.

MAROÑO (V.O.)

I will call you when I head that way.

FORTE

OK, bye.

END SCENE

 

Scene 3

INT. HOLLYWOOD HOTEL

The undercover agents meet with Maroño on August 22, 2012, to discuss a $6,800 payoff that Forte collected in Chicago three weeks earlier.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN

Jorge came to Chicago. He brought you back a souvenir. You good?

MAROÑO

What'd he bring me back?

UNDERCOVER G-MAN

Huh?

MAROÑO

He brought me back something?

UNDERCOVER G-MAN

He brought you back...

MAROÑO

What did he bring me back? I don't remember.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN

Well, we made the last installment payment. He got your cut.

MAROÑO

Oh yeah, souvenir.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN

Yeah, that's your souvenir.

END SCENE

Scene 4

INT. MAROÑO'S OFFICE

The Sweetwater mayor is on the phone with one of the undercover agents on April 23.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN (V.O.)

Are you good with the package I gave Jorge when we had dinner last time? I just want to make sure you're happy.

MAROÑO

Ummm. I don't know what you're talking about.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN (V.O.)

Ok, all right, well, you know, I just wanted to make sure Jorge got what he needed.

MAROÑO

I guess. Jorge seemed fine. He seemed happy.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN (V.O)

Perfect.

MAROÑO

All right.

CUT TO

INT. OFFICE

It's the following day, and Forte is on the phone with the other undercover agent posing as a shady Chicago businessman.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN 2 (V.O)

Hey, let me ask you, you know [G-MAN 1] was trying when he was talking with [MAROÑO], umm, yesterday, to find out if he was happy with the package that we brought you. Manny said something like he has no idea what [G-MAN 1] was talking about.

FORTE

Well, because he is not going to acknowledge anything of that sort on the phone.

UNDERCOVER G-MAN 2

That's what I was trying to tell him. I go, "Dude, [MAROÑO is] getting the money -- don't worry about it. That's what I was trying to explain to him and calm his fucking nerves.

FORTE

Yeah, but [UNDERCOVER G-MAN 1] needs to chill out.

END SCENE

Scene 5

INT. PIZZI'S OFFICE CLOSET IN THE TOWN OF MEDLEY

On July 1, Candia meets with Pizzi to deliver a $3,000 bribe.

CANDIA

The last time you told me you need money for your political action committee.

PIZZI

Yeah, I did.

CANDIA

And they said, "Well, go ahead and take it. We'll pay you back."

PIZZI

What you got?

Candia hands Pizzi an envelope containing $3,000.

CANDIA

That's three.

PIZZI

OK. You did good.

The two men exit the closet, and Candia leaves Pizzi's office.

END SCENE

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


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