| Crime |

FDLE Wanted to Arrest Doral Chief Ricardo Gomez, But Prosecutors Exonerated Him UPDATE

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

​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.

Update: Gomez called Riptide to discuss the case, saying it was "nine months of a living nightmare." He blames a city councilman, Pete Cabrera, for stoking the allegations and says the prosecutors' close-out memo leaves him "completely exonerated." Cabrera, meanwhile, says the investigation did raise "ethical concerns" about the chief.

Gomez 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."

Update: Gomez says the root of the case lies with Cabrera, who he says is planning a run for mayor and trying to discredit the police department. (Riptide has emailed Cabrera for his take on the chief's statements; we'll update the post again if and when we hear back.)

"This town feels like a Mafia movie," Gomez says. "Cabrera has been making the same allegations, over and over again, saying, 'The chief is a bad guy, the mayor is a bad guy,' because he wants to create an aura of evil in town so he can win the mayor's seat."

Gomez says he cooperated fully with the FDLE investigation. "I told them, 'We have nothing to hide, we're not saving anything for trial,'" he says. "We answered everything they asked."

The chief says he's planning a civil lawsuit over the allegations against him. "We're planning depositions to find out who is behind this case," he says.

Update 2: Cabrera emailed a statement to Riptide, saying that he still has questions about the chief's conduct and criticizing Gomez for laying blame on him. Here it is:

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.

Here are all the documents from the investigation. First, here's FDLE's investigation summary:

Gomez Investigation

And here's the draft of an arrest affidavit for Gomez:

Gomez Affidavit

And here's Perez's close-out memo:

Gomez Close-Out Memo

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.