Personal Loans Outpace Campaign Contributions For Miami Special Election Candidates

With less than a month to go in Miami's upcoming special election for the two city commission seats left open by the removal Michelle Spence-Jones and Angel Gonzalez, some of the candidates are relying on their own cash rather than hitting up people for campaign contributions.

Miguel Gabela and Waldo Faura Jr. loaned their campaigns $75,000 and $19,500, respectively, in their bids to replace the ousted Gonzalez, according to campaign financial disclosure reports turned in this past December 11. Another contender, Richard Tapia, has loaned himself $2,500 while raising $1,100.

Of the remaining players for Gonzalez's seat, Mike Saurez has rounded

up $6,500, including $500 from ex-Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez. Former

city commissioner Willy Gort has collected $3,650, including $500 from

the police union.

In the race to de-throne Spence-Jones, Georges William and

Dufirstson Neree, loaned their campaigns $15,000 and $10,000,

respectively. Recently resigned Miami-Dade Ethics Commission board

member Erica Wright also gave a loan to her campaign for $1,150.

Spence-Jones, on the other hand, is sticking to the old system. She has raised $9,350. Her major contributors include Miami rap

producer Ted Lucas and five entities owned by The Gatehouse Cos., a

real estate firm from Mansfield, Mass.

Her former nemesis, Rev. Richard Dunn, has

collected $1,300 from a towing company and two car mechanic shops while

Pierre Rutledge got one $500 donation from NFL running back and

ex-University of Miami star Edgerrin James.

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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.