Xavier Suarez Raises $100,000 in 15 Days for County Commission Seat

The man once dubbed "Mayor Loco" and who showed up at a constituent's house in his bathrobe when he was Miami mayor is still a formidable rainmaker. Xavier Suarez has picked up $109,950 in campaign contributions in his second bid to become a county commissioner.

Suarez is running against former state Rep. Julio Robaina (no relation to the Hialeah mayor) for the commission seat vacated by Carlos Gimenez, who is running for county mayor. Robaina has not reported any donations yet. More remarkable is how quickly Suarez collected the money. All the funds were raised between March 15 and March 31.

Despite being out of public office for more than a decade, Suarez received contributions from several individuals and corporations that do business with Miami-Dade. Pedro Pelaez, a businessman who sells phone cards at Miami International Airport, donated $1,000 through himself and his company Communitel. Lobbyist Steve Marin, who represents a number of clients seeking county business, gave $500 through his firm Marin & Sons. A company listing Marin's wife as president also donated the $500 maximum.

Eston "Dusty" Melton III, another lobbyist who gave through his company, ponied up $500 too. Others who gave the maximum include law firms Greenberg Traurig and Akerman Senterfitt, which lobby on behalf of the county at the federal level.

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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.