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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA) — Less than a week after the Florida Supreme Court rejected proposed penalties for a Miami-Dade County judge accused of misconduct, the judge on Tuesday agreed to stiffer discipline that includes a 90-day suspension without pay, according to a document filed with the court.
Judge Maria Ortiz went along with penalties that also include a $5,000 fine, a public reprimand and payment of costs of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates judges.
Ortiz and a panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission reached agreement on the penalties after the Supreme Court on Friday rejected an earlier settlement that included a 30-day suspension. The increased penalties in Tuesday’s agreement reflect what the Supreme Court said last week would be appropriate.
The case centers on allegations that Ortiz failed to properly report hotel stays in 2015 and 2016 on financial-disclosure forms.
It also is related to criminal charges that were filed against Ortiz’s husband, Mariano Fernandez, who served as director of the Building Department for the city of Miami Beach, according to court records.
Fernandez was accused of helping a hotel company with permitting problems and receiving free accommodations. The Supreme Court has ultimate disciplinary authority over judges.
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