MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former state Representative Daisy Baez, who resigned from office last week, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge.
An investigation was launched after it was discovered that Baez did not live in the district she served, which is required by the state’s constitution. Baez admitted to committing perjury by signing a voter registration form, swearing that she lived in the district when she did not.
“Each legislator shall be at least twenty-one years of age, an elector and resident of the district from which elected,” according to state law.
Baez was elected in 2016 to represent House District 114 when she actually lived in House District 112.
Baez reportedly changed her voter registration address to a condominium in the 2400 block of Anderson Road in Coral Gables – which is in District 114. During the course of the investigation, the State Attorney’s Office found that Baez purportedly rented a bedroom in the condo for $700 a month.
The condo’s owners, Maritza Jacobson and Dr. Robert Jacobson, told investigators that Baez never moved in nor did she ever stay there a single night, nor did she pay any rent.
Maritza Jacobson, a realtor and a friend of Baez for several years, said Baez had intended to move into District 114, but Jacobson thought she had not found a residence and had gotten busy with her work as a state representative.
While Baez entered a guilty plea in court, the judge withheld of adjudication so it won’t count as a conviction.
“Ms. Baez made the decision that she thought was best for her. She took this plea of convenience to move on,” said her defense attorney, Ben Kuehne. Baez did not speak to reporters.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Baez had betrayed the public.
“It’s unfortunate for the community. It undermines the credibility of our political system and our electoral process,” Fernandez Rundle said.
In addition to agreeing to resign her legislative seat, Baez was sentenced to one year of probation. She will not be allowed to run for office while she is on probation.
She becomes the third state lawmaker to leave office in disgrace this year.
Republican Rep. Frank Artiles of Hialeah resigned his seat in April, after a racist, profane rant at a Tallahassee bar.
Last week, incoming Senate Minority Leader Jeff Clemens, a Democrat from Atlantis, resigned after revelations that he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.