Reporting David Sutta
South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami’s former top cop is calling the Mayor of Miami corrupt.
Former police chief Miguel Exposito is taking the gloves off using choice words for his former boss.
The comments came as the State Attorney’s office closed an investigation into bribery at Miami City Hall. It’s a story our partners at the Miami Herald first broke.
What did prosecutors find? Nothing.
It was a little over a year ago when Exposito stepped out in front of cameras, claiming two Miami officials had tried to bribe him to leave office.
“I was presented with a check for $200,000,” Exposito told CBS4′s David Sutta. The total payout was actually $400,000. He refused the money and a few months later Exposito was fired for insubordination.
Now a state attorney close-out memo details what exactly happened behind closed doors.
According to the three page document, it all started with a disagreement at City Hall over the legality of video gaming machines known as maquinitas.
The relationship between the Chief and the Mayor grossly deteriorated.
To quiet a political mess, the city manager offered a proposal to buy the chief out of his contract. Instead of taking the check, Exposito contacted the FBI and agreed to wear a wire.
During telephone calls and meetings he made several demands including that he did not want to pay taxes on the money. It was Exposito that also set the buyout number at $400,000.
Speaking to Sutta by phone, Exposito explained why he made the demands
“Yes I did orchestrate this because I was part of a sting,” he said. “Just like undercover officers meet up with drug dealers and they setup drug deals. That doesn’t mean they are going to take the drugs.”
Exposito says he thought the whole thing was illegal. He claims that federal and state authorities agreed with him. In the end though it turns out they didn’t.
The memo shows the FBI declined prosecution as no federal law had been violated. Now, the state closed the case because a contract buy-out is not illegal.
Exposito response to the case being closed was not kind to Miami-Dade’s top prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
“Kathy Rundle’s office has routinely gone after certain people yet other people can get away with murder as far as she is concerned.” he said.
Exposito believes Mayor Tomas Regalado is getting away with a lot.
“I never really cared for corrupt individuals who are bad guys. That’s what I’ve done for the last 38 years is put people like him in jail.”
At City Hall we caught up with Mayor Regalado and asked him about the accusation that he was the most corrupt person in City Hall?”
“This is sad.” Regalado said. “Because this is a man that during my campaign for mayor was with me. He was one of my best cheerleaders.”
Regalado regarded the memo as vindication, further proof he never attempted to bribe anyone.
“It’s the FBI. It’s the FDLE. It’s the United Nations. Who else? The world is not crazy,” he said.
The Mayor hopes this ruling will put the allegation and his fired police chief behind him or as he put it, “No more crying.”
As for the $200,000 check that was printed and signed. According to Regalado it was a common practice to cut these checks without commissioners voting on it for contract and employee buyouts. That practice has now been made illegal.
As for Exposito, he filed another appeal this week to get his job back.