For a guy who doesn't believe in restoring felons' voting rights, Mitt Romney sure likes to associate with convicted criminals when he comes to Miami.
First, in August, Romney tried to bolster his Latino bona fides by holding a rally at Palacio de los Jugos on Coral Way. Great idea! Except that Palacio is owned by Reinaldo Bermudez — AKA "El Guajiro," as he was known in 1997 when he was busted for helping a group try to smuggle a ton of coke into Miami.
Then, last week, Romney returned to the Magic City for Univision's Meet the Candidate at the University of Miami.
As he waltzed onstage, he made sure to personally greet two audience members — Fausto and Remedios Diaz-Oliver. Great sentiment! Too bad the couple was charged with tax evasion and customs fraud by the federal government in 1997.
!Ay dios mio!
Fifteen years ago, a federal indictment charged Remedios, her hubby, and two others of evading income taxes and custom duties. The quartet owned a food-importing firm that tried to hide about $456,000 from the Internal Revenue Service, the feds said. They also tried to deflate the price of Spanish goods from $5.3 million to $2.8 million.
The Diaz-Olivers, who now own Miami-based All American Containers, denied any interest in the importing business, but the feds said otherwise.
In 1999, Remedios pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for accessory after the fact to tax evasion and customs fraud, and received three years of probation. Fausto, on the other hand, copped to one felony count each of tax evasion and customs fraud.
Luckily for Mittens, Remedios can still cast a ballot for him since she avoided a felony record.
In fact, she has snagged a starring role in Romney's efforts to court Hispanics as one of 13 members on the leadership committee of Florida's Juntos con Romney. She has also chipped in $2,500 to Romney's presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org.