MIAMI LAKES (CBSMiami) — Former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi filed a second lawsuit on Tuesday in an effort to get his old job back.
Through the second lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Pizzi wants a court to command town officials to restore him to office.
“The constitution is on my side. The law is on my side,” Pizzi told CBS4’s Gary Nelson Wednesday.
Pizzi, who was elected to the position in 2012, was suspended after he was charged with accepting bribes, but was acquitted of all counts last year.
In December, the Florida Supreme court ordered that the suspension of Pizzi be revoked. The state’s highest court had ordered the revocation and directed Governor Rick Scott to lift the suspension.
Scott has refused to reinstate Pizzi, however. That is in contrast to his actions in 2011, when he immediately reinstated Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones after she was found not guilty of corruption charges. Scott’s action removed Richard Dunn who had replaced Spence-Jones on the commission after her suspension.
In the Miami-Lakes case, Wayne Slaton was elected mayor in a special election after Pizzi’s suspension and has refused to vacate the office. Slaton said he was duly elected and will complete his term. His position may conflict with Florida law.
State law is clear on the reinstatement of public officials who are charged with crimes and later found not guilty. The statute at issue says, “The governor shall forthwith revoke the suspension and restore…the official to office.”
When Pizzi was first suspended from office, the then city attorney told council members the law required the mayor be reinstated if acquitted, and any interim successor would have to step aside.
But there is a new city attorney who came on board after Wayne Slaton was elected mayor – Raul Gestasi. Gestasi has been a campaign supporter of Slaton.
Slaton refused to pause to speak with CBS4’s Nelson as he pulled from his parking spot at town hall Wednesday. He also refused to arrange for a future interview.
Asked when he might give up the battle to get his job back, Pizzi was blunt Wednesday.
“When hell freezes over,” he said. “I won in federal court. I won in the Florida Supreme Court. I’ll give up this fight when hell freezes over.”
Slaton has dug in his heels. He will gather the town council together in a special meeting Friday afternoon and ask them to hire a high-powered law firm to oppose Pizzi’s suit.
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