Columns

Counting Down the Richest and Poorest Local Legislators

It's the time of year when South Florida politicians must reveal their net worth to their constituents. So Riptide is here to let readers know which Miami-Dade state legislators are ballin' like the Bawse at his King of Diamonds birthday party and which ones are probably living on a steady diet of ramen noodles and Spam sandwiches.

We'll begin with the rich folks:

Jose Oliva

The future House speaker of the 2018-20 session is rolling in dough from rolling cigars. As of June 30, Oliva has a net worth of $10 million, in large part to his ownership of Miami Lakes-based Oliva Cigar Co., a stogy maker that owns tobacco plantations in Honduras and Nicaragua.

Gwen Margolis

As of May, the veteran state senator clocks in with a net worth of $5.3 million, mostly derived from stocks and real estate investments.

Michael Bileca

A vociferous opponent of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' attempt to obtain public funds to renovate Sun Life Stadium, the rep from Palmetto Bay has not yet filed his financial disclosure form. However, when he ran for office last year, he reported a net worth of $3.8 million as of December 2011. He owns a successful dental practice and a consulting business that pay him approximately $677,000 a year.

David Richardson

The Miami Beach businessman who replaced disgraced state Rep. Richard Steinberg hasn't filed a new financial disclosure form either. As of June 2012, he claimed a net worth of $3.4 million.

Now for the legislators who could really use a new financial planner:

Kionne McGhee

The freshman state rep from Kendall is drowning in debt. He has a net worth of -$196,762. That's because he owes $301,000 on his house, which is worth only $175,000. He also has $150,000 in student loan debt. With an annual income of approximately $49,000, McGhee will be drifting in the red for a while.

Eduardo "Eddy" Gonzalez

At least he can say he's not McGhee. But the Hialeah state rep is also staring down a negative net worth. His is -$18,326. To get back in the black, Gonzalez should really consider unloading that 2009 Chevy Suburban he claims as a $34,000 asset.

Jose Felix Diaz

What is it with money-starved state legislators and fancy cars? Diaz has a net worth of -$4,522 -- from about $617,000 in mortgage, student loan, and credit card debts -- yet he owns a 2010 Jeep Compass and a 2011 Cadillac SRX.

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.