In August 2016, North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo weirdly posted a video on Twitter explaining he was the subject of an investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. Without getting into any details, Vallejo tweeted that "the truth will come out when the process is complete."
Twenty months later, the truth is out: Tuesday morning, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced that her office has charged the mayor with two misdemeanor counts of violating campaign finance laws. Rundle accuses Vallejo of moving money from a political committee to a personally owned company so he and his wife could use the funds for personal expenses. Vallejo, who pleaded guilty, will serve 90 days of house arrest under GPS monitoring and 18 months of probation.
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The 51-year-old, whom New Times wasn't able to reach for comment, was first elected mayor in 2011 and ran unopposed in 2015.
The charges stem from a political committee called Floridians for Progress, which Rundle says Vallejo's aunt, Denise Corredeira, started at his behest in January 2015. That May, the committee's treasurer wrote a $5,000 check for fundraising consulting to a company called JATC, Inc., a corporation formed by Vallejo and his wife and run at that time by a close family friend. JATC moved the $5,000 to a third entity, Creations Unlimited LLC, which was subsequently purchased by Vallejo and his wife.
Bank records obtained by the State Attorney's Office show the $5,000 received by Creations Unlimited was largely used for personal expenses by the mayor and his wife.
As part of Vallejo's sentence, he must serve 500 hours of community service and write a letter apologizing to the City of North Miami Beach. In addition, he is barred from seeking office until the end of his probation.