Michael Pizzi is now one step closer to regaining his position as mayor of Miami Lakes. A three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal ruled today that Pizzi should legally be restored to the office. The town of Miami Lakes now has five days to appeal the decision.
Pizzi was first removed from office back in August 2013 after he was indicted on charges of bribery after an FBI corruption sweep. Gov. Rick Scott was required to remove him from office.
However, it turned out the fed's case against Pizzi was weak. He maintained he was a victim of entrapment, and Pizzi ended up beating the charges.
At the same time, however, Miami Lakes held a special election to replace Pizzi and elected Wayne Slaton.
After beating the rap, Pizzi set to work to get his old job back. The Florida Supreme Court ruled late last year that Scott must revoke Pizzi's suspension from holding any public office, though that alone didn't mean he was returning to his old office. In March, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Gisela Cardonne Ely ruled that Pizzi should be returned to office and receive any back pay. Though, that decision was placed on a 30-day stay. The stay expires next week, on April 30.
Though Slaton and the town could still appeal the latest ruling, it appears that Pizzi is almost certain to return to office then.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.