Michael Gongora is a Miami Beach commissioner running for mayor. On his campaign website, the commish touts his corruption-fighting credentials, boldly proclaiming he engineered the dismissal of shady city employees who violated the public's trust. "Now, thanks to my leadership," Gongora boasts on his website, "City Hall is more transparent."
Oddly, Miami Beach's white knight has retained the services of one Randall Hilliard, a political consultant who fancies himself the "Prince of Darkness." Yes, really. To prove his demonic reputation, Hilliard listed his phone number under his Satanic nomme de guerre when he lived in Key West.
Coincidentally, Hilliard is the brains behind an electioneering communications organization, the laughably named Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, that has not disclosed the source of money being used to attack one of Gongora's opponents. Transparency, indeed.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, Hilliard registered Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility on October 14, 2011. Three days later, his Evil Highness formed the corporation Women's Leadership Conference in Carson City, Nevada. The address is a property owned by Gongora's dad, Alberto. Another coincidence, or are we starting to see a pattern here?
Well, it just so happens the registered agent for Women's Leadership Conference was -- wait for it -- Sandra Page Millard, Gongora's mom. Holy cow! The coincidences are piling up. But maybe Banana Republican is just overreacting.
After all, what does all of this have to do with Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, you might ask? Glad you did!
Between July and August 2012, Women's Leadership Conference donated $17,400 to Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility. Then, for almost a year, the ECO registered no activity. Not a single attack ad or mailer against any opponent. Apparently, Hell's Hilliard even forgot he had to file quarterly reports, according to two warning letters from the Florida Division of Elections.
Fast-forward to a brief August 5 phone call between Banana Republican and the commissioner. We asked Gongora why his mom and his political mercenary were involved in a Nevada corporation that was donating to a Florida ECO. Initially, Gongora tried to make a joke of the question.
"Well, I do love the ladies, and the ladies love me," the openly gay politician quipped. But then he explained that his mother is involved in political campaigns in both states. Of course she is! "It has not been involved in my campaign for mayor of Miami Beach to my knowledge," Gongora added, referring to Hilliard's ECO.
Hilliard didn't respond to Banana Republican's requests for comment, but the following day, on August 6, Gongora's mom was no longer the registered agent for Women's Leadership Conference. Another coincidence!
Over the past month, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility has kicked into high gear, sending out attack mailers against Philip Levine, a Miami Beach billionaire who is funding his own campaign for mayor. (So far, the group hasn't socked Miami Beach native son Steve Berke, who is also running.) In one of the pieces, mailed to Spanish-speaking voters, a photo of Levine is sandwiched between images of Fidel and Raúl Castro. The mailer alleges Levine does business with a private firm that has ties to Cuba's Communist regime.
If Gongora weren't the "transparent" candidate, one might think he's trying to conceal the fact that he has signed off on the Prince of Darkness' dirty tactics. But remember, Gongora is the guy who cleaned up city hall -- with a wink and a nudge.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness
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