Only in Miami-Dade County can a politician like Julio Robaina be considered a front-runner for the top elected post. With one day left for early voting before election day on May 24, we've compiled five reasons Robaina does not deserve becoming our next county mayor -- not counting his side gig as an alleged loan shark. Don't be fooled by his slick pompadour and slick campaign slogans. This dude is bad news.
1. He's down with Ralph Arza. Since 2008, when he back-stabbed his mentor and former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez in the congressional race against Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Robaina has turned to the disgraced ex-state legislator as his main consigliere. Arza resigned from office in 2006 after he was criminally charged with threatening another state representative who had recorded Arza using racial slurs against then-Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew. A known bully, Arza has been locked to Robaina's hip for the past three years.
2. He's a property tax evader. Robaina built a shopping center in Hialeah and doesn't notify the county property tax appraiser when it was finished. So for years, he got away with paying lower taxes on the property because it was classified as vacant. As a guy who built his $8 million net worth as a real estate developer, Robaina can't claim ignorance on this one. He had to have known he was cheating the county.
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3. Illegal slot machines in every gas station and laundromat. Robaina is a tool for the maquinitas racket, championing regulations that made computerized "amusement games" legal in Hialeah. If he is elected mayor, his idea to create economic development will be to allow slot machines from Perrine to Miami Gardens.
4. All his cronies will get jobs at County Hall. Following his 2009 reelection, Robaina orchestrated the removal of his nemesis Alex Morales as director of the Hialeah Housing Authority. Under the mayor's direction, the authority's board of directors replaced Morales with Julio Ponce, a former business partner of Robaina who chairs a political action committee that has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist the Hialeah mayor's political machinations.
5. He is a compulsive liar. I've counted at least five different times during his campaign when Robaina has emphatically insisted he did not speak in favor of the Marlins stadium deal. Yet, we all know video evidence proves otherwise. Robaina would get more respect if he had just admitted, "You know what, I was wrong. The Marlins got a sweetheart deal at the expense of taxpayers." Instead he chose to run with the lie.