Politics

Ethics Complaint Alleges North Miami Beach Mayor Lives in Davie

North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo
North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo Photo by City of North Miami Beach via Facebook
North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo is facing an ethics complaint alleging that he has moved outside the city limits — potentially disqualifying him from remaining in office.

According to a complaint submitted to the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and copied via email to the mayor and city commissioners, DeFillipo is residing in a Broward County neighborhood in Davie, about 15 miles away from North Miami Beach.

"[DeFillipo] is lying to the public and city of North Miami Beach officials by not declaring his true place of residence after having moved to a new home (in another municipality)," alleges the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by New Times.

Broward property records indicate that the Davie property is a $1.2 million home located in the new Sierra Ranches community.

According to Chapter 7 of North Miami Beach's municipal code, a candidate for mayor or city commission must "be a bona fide resident of the City of North Miami Beach and express an intent to remain permanently a bona fide resident of the City during the entire term of office for which he or she is a candidate."

The charter defines "bona fide residence" as "a permanent, fixed place of domicile within the City of North Miami Beach, to the exclusion of all other places."

Additionally, "Should any elected official of the City of North Miami Beach, during his term of office, change his bona fide residence from within to without the City of North Miami Beach, his seat...shall be automatically vacated and forfeited."

In response to requests for comment for this story, DeFillipo told New Times that his North Miami Beach condo address is on file with the city and is public record. He called the allegations a "false and slanderous pack of falsehoods" and suggested that they were fabricated by his political enemies.

"Let me be clear and respectfully say that I have never changed my residence in NMB, my address is public record in the city and takes five minutes to get and I have never voted illegally or violated any laws," DeFillipo wrote via text message. "My focus is on fixing the city's problems."

The issue of the mayor's place of residence sparked controversy Tuesday night during a city meeting, when commissioner McKenzie Fleurimond announced on the dais that he and other city officials received a copy of the ethics complaint.

"I don’t want to vote on things when I feel there’s a question about the mayor’s residency,” Fleurimond said.

DeFillipo responded to the claims, encouraging residents to “keep your faith” and know “their mayor is their mayor.” He said his family members "have been pillars of this community since the 1950s."

The mayor added that he invests in multiple properties in South Florida. “This is my livelihood. It’s what I live from... I buy, sell, and invest," the mayor said.

“I am very shocked that my fellow commissioner has taken this attitude and posture,” he added.

DeFillipo was born in North Miami Beach and served on the city commission for five years before running for mayor. When he ran for commissioner in 2013, his primary residence was a single-family house not far from Greynolds Park Elementary School.

DeFillipo sold that home in December 2021. A financial report filed with the city this past summer lists the mayor's new residence as a condo on NE 170th Street in North Miami Beach. Broward County property records show that the mayor purchased the single-family home in Davie in July of this year.

Records from the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections, show DeFillipo recently cast ballots in North Miami Beach, including in the 2022 primary and general elections.

DeFillipo, who leads the roughly 5.3-square mile, 44,000-resident city in northeast Miami-Dade, also serves as the liaison for the city's planning-and-zoning and employee-pension boards. According to his bio on the city's website, the mayor is a former local business owner and current associate and property management director at a local realty group.

He was elected mayor in 2018 after his predecessor, George Vallejo, resigned while facing charges of violating state campaign-finance laws. DeFillipo was re-elected in 2020.

Controversies involving elected officials accused of living outside the area they represent aren't uncommon in Florida.

Just this past June, Mike Williams resigned from his post as Jacksonville's sheriff after the Tributary, a regional journalism collective, found that he had moved to Nassau County in violation of residency rules. And in Alachua County, at least two elected officials –– a city commissioner and a school board member –– resigned over the summer after they were found in violation of residency requirements.
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca

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