Ongoing Joint investigation by CBS4 and El Nuevo Herald


MIAMI (CBSMiami) — More questions of ethics violations in a South Florida city have emerged, and this time a City Commissioner is the focus.

It’s a story CBS4 News is working with our news partners at El Nuevo Herald.

Federal investigations, bribery allegations, an uncovered alleged towing scheme, and a missing police horse.

It’s been a busy year for the City of Sweetwater, and now, an El Nuevo Herald investigation reveals that a current city commissioner was voting on measures presented by the man who approved his paycheck in his private job, ousted mayor Manny Maroño.

According to our news partners at El Nuevo Herald, Commissioner Jose Guerra was a supervisor at a towing company called Southeast Towing Inc, from 2008 to 2010 while he held public office.

The El Nuevo Herald investigation reveals Guerra’s boss at the time was the company’s owner, then Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño.

The county’s ethics code forbids public officials to work in places that could create a conflict of interest.

Commissioner Guerra told our news partners at El Nuevo Herald that there was no conflict of interest because he said he did not know the mayor owned the company he worked for, for two years. CBS4 News reached out to Commissioner Guerra for comment Monday morning and we are waiting his reply.

Mayor Maroño’s got bigger worries than his questionable connection to Commissioner Guerra though.

He’s facing federal charges after being swept up in an undercover FBI bribery sting.

The city is also in the middle of another storm, over its connection to another towing company with ties to Maroño, Southland Towing.

Sources tell CBS4 News, federal investigators are looking at whether there was a scheme in place to permanently keep vehicles towed during arrests.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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