City Manager Carlos Migoya Had Ties With Scandal-Plagued Cesar Odio

On Friday, Miami's best and brightest crowded inside City Hall to watch the city commission confirm Mayor Tomas Regalado's pick for our new city manager.

Carlos Migoya, a career banker and philanthropist, pledged to right Miami's battered budget -- and to do it for free, forgoing his job's $300,000 annual salary until he can help close the city's projected $45 million hole.

So who is this shining, bald messiah from the banking sector?

The Herald's Charles Rabin filled in some of the gaps in a profile that ran yesterday.

Migoya was a local Cuban kid who rose from Miami's First National Bank to become the local head of banking giant Wachovia. After detours to New York and Charlotte, Migoya retired last year and moved back to Miami. Now he takes long bike trips through France when he's not lending heaps of money to developer Jorge Perez.

There's one chapter in Migoya's past the Herald leaves untouched, however -- and it's a chapter that stirred up plenty of chatter in City Hall last week.

Through most of the '90s, Migoya was married to Christine M. Cuervo -- a City Hall powerbroker who worked as chief of staff for Cesar Odio, a city manager who later spent time in prison for obstructing an FBI corruption probe.

Migoya and Cuervo were married in 1992, according to court records. Cuervo worked as assistant city manager and chief of staff to Odio.

In September 1996, Odio was criminally charged after getting nabbed in a federal probe called Operation Greenpalm. Odio was taped talking about giving bribes to developer Jorge DeCardenas and others.

In August 1997, Odio pled guilty to felony obstruction of justice after admitting that he tried to talk a key witness into not cooperating with the FBI. He earned a year in prison.

Just a month before the sentencing, Migoya and Cuervo divorced. The court has destroyed the divorce file, so it's impossible to say exactly what broke up the power couple.

But Migoya had to pay Cuervo $118,000. She got to keep the Mercedes 190E and the Key Biscayne Yacht Club membership.

Migoya hung onto the Moto Guzzi Mille motorcycle and the 20-foot seacraft. 

Cuervo went on to a long career in city government, eventually moving over to Miami Beach where she also worked as an assistant city manager before leaving for the private sector in 2005.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink