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Miami Beach City Official Wants Convention Center Bidder Banned

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI BEACH (CBS4/The Miami Herald) – At least one Miami Beach City official wants a bidder for the billion-dollar convention center project to be banned from doing business with the city.

According to CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald, Commissioner Jonah Wolfson wrote a letter and delivered it to other city officials, Friday.

In the letter, Wolfson said both Robert Wennett, of Southbeach ACE team, and Jack Portman, of the Portman CMC team did not register as lobbyists, but that said Wennett should be banned from the bidding process because he was “untruthful with his affidavit” swearing he acted against the city’s lobbying laws.

Earlier in the year, Miami Beach made teams bidding for the project sign affidavits stating they did not violate lobbyist laws and that they had not been in contact with Miami Beach’s former procurement director, Gus Lopez, who has been arrested on public corruptions charges.

The paper reported Wolfson’s claim that  Wennett lobbied the city’s Finance and Citywide Projects Committee (“FCWPC”) on February 24, 2011 about a convention center project.

“As evidenced by the audio of the February 24, 2011, FCWPC meeting, Mr. Wennett lobbied said committee concerning the expansion and enhancement of the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is very well of interest to other investigative agencies,’’ Wolfson wrote, according to The Miami Herald.

Miami Beach has rules allowing the city to “debar” companies or people that violate certain rules.

However, the paper reports it’s not clear whether Wennett and Portman are required under city rules to register as lobbyists.

An attorney for South Beach ACE declined comment according to the paper and Portman-CMS attorney Lucia Dougherty said Portman was not required to register as a lobbyist.

Wolfson has been against the project since the beginning, the paper reported.

The city attorney for Miami Beach has not seen the letter, yet.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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