Miguel Diaz de la Portilla Paves The Way For County Commissioners

​Even the simple act of hiring a company to lay down asphalt can turn political.

Today, Miami-Dade County commissioners are supposed to vote on giving a $1 million contract to General Asphalt Inc., to resurface roads. The company won the deal after its competitor, H & J Paving, was disqualified by the county attorney's office because it failed to include a form showing whatever work it performed would be insured. The firm had offered to do the job for $60,000 less than General Asphalt.

But even though H & J Paving didn't follow the rules, the company had its lobbyist and state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla twist commissioners' arms to get the contract.

At a commission meeting this past Dec. 19, Diaz de la Portilla successfully argued that the county should not pass up the opportunity to go with H & J Paving because it would save taxpayers money. The state senator had an easy time convincing county commissioners because no one from General Asphalt was there to protest. But, commissioners first needed approval from the county attorney's office that it could lawfully reject General Asphalt's bid for H & J's offer.

They got it today. So even though Mayor Carlos Gimenez is recommending the contract go to General Asphalt, you can expect the county commission will instead go with Diaz de la Portilla's client.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.