Hialeah has long been known for voting shenanigans. First there were the confirmed claims of absentee-ballot tampering in the race between Mayor Raul Martinez and Nilo Juri in 1993. Then there was the HUD-Alex Morales showdown 12 years later.
During that tumultuous 2005 election, 18-year-old Katharine Cue voted for the first time. When she registered to vote September 28, she listed her address at 360 W. 50th St. in Hialeah, a three-bedroom residence owned by George and Teresita Fuente. At the time, Cue's driver's license listed her address at 19195 Mystic Pointe Dr. in Aventura. That property is a two-bedroom condo owned by Cue's mother, a Hialeah city employee.
One year later, Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina hired Cue as an educational aide. Her employee contact information form and resumé showed the Mystic Pointe condo as her home address. But on her employment application, she wrote a third address: 874 W. Fourth St., Hialeah, a three-bedroom house owned by her maternal grandparents.
All of this became relevant last November 25, when the city council appointed Cue to fill a slot vacated by Esteban Bovo, who was elected state representative. Hialeah law requires council people to live in the city.
Robaina insists the city clerk verified Cue was a Hialeah resident and a registered voter in the city when she was selected. "She would not have been appointed otherwise," he says. "The council would never have voted for her."
This past February 12, three months after the appointment, Cue changed her driver's license to reflect the 360 W. 50th St. address. Shortly before 9 a.m. last Friday, Riptide stopped by the salmon-colored single-story abode. A lanky gentleman with graying black hair said Cue, who is running for re-election this November, was asleep and to call her in 30 minutes. A half-hour later, Cue answered the home's phone.
So, she lives there?
Yes, she says. George Fuente is her father-in-law.
And what about the Aventura condo?
"That is a place I go to sometimes."