MIAMI (CBS4) – In a battle of words, Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito said Mayor Tomas Regalado “interfered” into the police department’s investigation of illegal gambling in the city.
Exposito wrote an accusatory letter Wednesday aimed at Regalado, which was obtained by CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald: “Through the Mayor’s office there was a concerted effort to interfere with the gambling enforcement operation. You, as the Mayor have gone beyond the legal bounds of your office,” the letter states.
Exposito does not specifically state how Regalado has “interfered” with the police department’s crack down into illegal gambling activities.
But he does accuse Regalado of accepting political campaign contributions from parties who distribute coin-operated gaming machines.
Citing records, the Herald found that in Regalado’s 2009 mayoral campaign he received $9,400 from gaming interests.
Among those who donated to his campaign was 61-year-old Jesus Abreu who pleaded guilty of operating an illegal gambling house in 2002 and 2007, the Herald reported.
Regalado responded to the accusations this afternoon, telling CBS4 News, “I am disappointed because these are personal attacks and I have never attacked him personally. I have questioned the department’s ability to fight crime because crime is up in the City of Miami.”
In the two-page letter, Exposito also cited Regalado’s support of an October ordinance that regulates the coin-operated machines often used in illegal gambling by requiring store owners to pay $500 fee for each gaming machine in their establishments.
“Those allegations are just baseless because everything that we do here in the city we do it through the law department and we think that this ordinance that they chief was complaining about is a good ordinance,” said Regalado.
Regalado also called into question Exposito’s motive, explaining that his actions may be out of fear for his job.
Some have speculated that Exposito could be out of a job as soon as Tony Crapp Jr., the new city manager, is officially placed into that position.
CBS4 News reached out to Chief Exposito for comment, which he declined.