Starting this past April, Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators began looking into a half dozen allegations lodged against Doral Police Chief Ricardo Gomez, from charges of bid fixing to shady hires to illegally spending city cash on a lavish swearing-in ceremony. By this fall, the FDLE was sure enough about one of the charges -- that he'd fixed a bid to buy furniture -- that they wrote up an arrest affidavit against Gomez.
But after reviewing all the evidence, a Miami-Dade prosecutor put the brakes on the case and elected not to charge Gomez with a crime, Riptide has learned. Click through for all the documents.
didn't respond to a message Riptide left at his office on Wednesday. We'll update this post if he calls back to respond to the allegations. The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office also has yet to respond to our request for comment.
The FDLE started looking into Gomez -- who became Doral's chief in 2007 when the city decided to form its own department -- in April after former public corruption chief Joe Centerino received an anonymous letter detailing a list of allegations.
The two most serious were that Gomez helped rig a furniture bid by tipping one of the bidders off late in the process about competitors' bids, and that he'd misappropriated $28,000 from a city vendor to pay for his own swearing-in ceremony.
(More amusingly, a neighbor also claimed that Gomez built himself a regulation-sized basketball court in his backyard without proper permits, and that after complaining the neighbor found her "mailbox vandalized" and scrawled with "epithets.")
Investigators later found that the swearing-in ceremony payment was "unethical and wrong" but not necessarily illegal.
But the price-fixing case was sound enough that the FDLE drafted a seven-page arrest affidavit against Gomez.
The case was dropped, though, by Assistant State Attorney Isis Perez, who issued a close out memo signed on Dec. 12 stating that there was "no evidence that Chief Gomez ... or the vendor illegally profited from the contract."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Although the State Attorney's Office did not conclude Chief Gomez's conduct to be criminal, the FDLE summary report raises very serious questions and ethical concerns that will require they be addressed by the administration and the City Council.It is sad that such a seasoned law enforcement officer and Attorney, such as Chief Gomez, would make such reckless and disingenuous accusations towards a law enforcement agency and others in an attempt to defend his conduct and divert attention.For the last three years I have been the target of politically motivated, unfounded and false accusations by individuals with special interest. I will not allow these politically motivated threats to keep me from protecting the interest of the residents and businesses of Doral.
And here's the draft of an arrest affidavit for Gomez:
And here's Perez's close-out memo: