This past weekend, Terry Murphy, chief of staff of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natacha Seijas (subject of this week'scover story), was busy protecting his cushy government post. For the past two months, a political action committee has been busy campaigning for the recall of Murphy's boss.
On December 9 and 10, Murphy traveled from his South Miami home to the Miami Lakes library reportedly to heckle members of the recall PAC, who were passing out literature to early voters.
"He was really rude," says recall leader Pat Wade, "yelling 'vote no to the lies' and that we committed voter fraud." When she confronted him, Wade says, Murphy snapped. "He said I was going to jail and that he could not wait to see me in handcuffs," Wade alleges.
The recall committee is facing accusations that they forged signatures and lied to voters in order to get their petition on the ballot — charges being investigated by local law enforcement authorities. Wade and her comrades maintain their innocence and say the criminal probe is part of Seijas's smear campaign against them.
The following day, Murphy's antics continued. This time he spat bile at Wade's husband John, who tape-recorded the episode with Murphy's permission. During the heated exchange, Murphy cites a letter from the Miami-Dade state attorney's office claiming that 80 people had either claimed their names had been forged or that they were misled into signing the petiton. "That is pretty big time voter fraud," Murphy said. "Would you agree to that?"
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John Wade vehemently disagreed. He said: "Has it been proven in court? Have there been any charges filed?" On December 11, John Wade filed a complaint against Murphy with the Miami-Dade ethics commission, providing investigators with a copy of the tape. The Redland activist accuses Murphy of violating county campaign laws and the home rule charter that county employees are not supposed to spread misinformation to the public. If found culpable, the employee is subject to termination.
"No member of our group has been charged with a crime, much less proven guilty," John said. "But he is out there spreading untruths."
Three voicemails were left for Murphy left at Seijas's office; he didn't return the calls.