MIAMI LAKES (CBSMiami) — Suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi said he is taking legal action against Florida Governor Rick Scott to try to get his job back.
Pizzi said Thursday he has filed a lawsuit to force the governor to give him his job back now that Pizzi’s been acquitted of all charges in a federal bribery and corruption trial.
“I would hope that everyone in Miami Lakes and throughout the state would be happy that we are reliving this in the correct form and asking everybody to follow the law,” said Pizzi. “When the law is followed Michael Pizzi doesn’t win. Everybody in the state wins.”
Pizzi was arrested in August 2013, which led to his suspension. Wayne Slaton was elected to take his place in a special election last October.
After his acquittal Pizzi’s camp released a statement asking Governor Rick Scott to revoke his suspension order. The statement says “On behalf of the citizens, electors, and residents of Miami Lakes, we call on Governor Scott to immediately exercise his constitutional duty to “forthwith” revoke his Executive Order of Suspension 13-217 done within minutes of Mayor Pizzi’s arrest on August 6, 2014. The jury verdict and the judicial declaration by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke that Michael Pizzi was adjudged NOT GUILTY demands the same immediacy in revoking the suspension order.”
The statement concluded with, “According to the Town Charter, Article II, Section 2.3(a), Mayor Pizzi was elected in 2012 to serve a 4-year term. The 2013 special election of a temporary Mayor was only to serve during the time of Mayor Pizzi’s suspension. Now that Mayor Pizzi has been acquitted, the Town’s citizens are entitled by law to see that their rightfully elected Mayor’s suspension is immediately revoked. The letter of the law is clear. Governor Scott has no other discretion.”
Shortly after the verdict, Scott’s camp released a statement regarding his reinstatement saying, “This is a local issue. A new mayor has been elected by the voters of Miami Lakes.”
State statute dictates a governor may suspend an elected official accused of wrongdoing. In the same chapter and section, it says the governor shall revoke the suspension if the public official is acquitted.
“We have given Governor Scott one week,” said Pizzi’s attorney Ben Kuehne. ” We have contacted his office every day. The governor refuses to follow the law, refuses to implement the Constitution.”
“No matter how powerful you are and how much money you have, no one in the U.S. is above the law,” Pizzi said.
The outspoken two-term mayor was accused of accepting nearly $7,000 in cash kickbacks during a FBI sting.
Also snared in the sting were former Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono and two lobbyists who have since pleaded guilty.
According to the their criminal complaints, the two mayors and two lobbyists accepted thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for championing purported federal grant applications for their towns.
However, the men reportedly intended to line their pockets with the grant money, according to FBI affidavits filed with the complaints.
Pizzi had maintained his innocence during the trial claiming he was set up by questionable FBI tactics and untrustworthy informants.
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