MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sometimes in South Florida politics, you just can’t make this stuff up.
One day after a Hialeah mayoral candidate Juan Santana complained to a local paper after he was verbally attacked by a former police officer who is close to the mayor, it was revealed that Santana’s wife had been arrested nearly two years ago after she allegedly helped steal a utility pole found, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
In August, 2011, Santana’s wife, 27-year old Jessica Montanez and 25-year old Jonathan Román were arrested after cops spotted half of an aluminum post in the trunk of a Nissan Sentra and the other half through the sliding roof of the small car.
“We had never seen anyone loading a post cut to pieces in a passenger car. How could they think that no one would notice,” Hialeah police spokesman Carl Zogby told the paper.
According to the police report, Montanez admitted that she had helped Román load the parts of the post in the Nissan. Montanez reportedly told police she had agreed to give Román a ride in exchange for gas money.
Román, who allegedly admitted that he cut down the $4,800 pole, said he hoped to get about $200 for it by selling it as scrap metal, according to police.
Santana told the paper that Montanez and Román were friends and she agreed to give his a ride because he “was going through difficult times.”
“We have a very big heart and my wife went to pick him up,” Santana told the paper. “She didn’t take the post. In fact, her case was dismissed. She is my wife and I am with her and the fact is that authorities found that she was not to blame.”
Santana said that the police released information about his wife’s arrest to discredit him for his decision to run for mayor. He said it only came to light after he videotaped former police officer Glenn Rice mocking him because he is a disabled 30-year-old who weighs nearly 500 pounds.
“All this is political retaliation,” Santana said. “I am an open book and all I want is to serve the people of Hialeah.”
Both Hialeah mayor Carlos Hernández and police chief Sergio Velazquez have denied that there is any harassment against Santana because of his political candidacy.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report