MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Miami Mayor Francis Suarez publicly backed City Manager Art Noriega’s decision to suspend Police Chief Art Acevedo, a source told CBS4 that things played out very differently behind the scenes.
Suarez finally broke his week-long silence on Tuesday, having laid low as bitter accusations ricocheted back and forth between city commissioners, led by Joe Carollo, and Chief Acevedo.READ MORE: Attorney For Key Ally Of Venezuela Leader's Nicolas Maduro Called His Extradition To The US Illegal
“What’s the morale like inside city hall right now?” CBS4’s Joel Waldman asked him.
“Well, it’s obviously a difficult day,” Suarez said.
Difficult because the man once described as the Michael Jordan or Tom Brady of police chiefs by the mayor was “suspended with the intent to terminate his employment.”
What is likely the end of the road for the chief, might just be the beginning of problems for the city and mayor.
“He blew up against Art [Noriega] saying, ‘I’m the one who put you in power. I can take you off.’ It was very unpleasant,” a source told Waldman.
This former city hall worker and law enforcement officer, who asked not to be identified, along with several other sources close to city leaders, told CBS4 the mayor is furious at the city manager’s choice of interim chief.
Suarez reportedly preferred Lt. Brandon Lanier, who was appointed by Chief Acevedo to run internal affairs. Instead, Assistant Chief Manny Morales was picked by the city manager.
“Insiders at city hall say there was a blow up between you and Art Noriega last night. Did that happen?” Waldman asked Suarez.
“No,” Suarez said.READ MORE: Haiti Gang With Past Abductions Blamed For Kidnapping Missionaries
“Didn’t get into a shouting match?” Waldman followed up.
“No I wasn’t at city hall yesterday,” Suarez said.
Waldman also spoke with Commissioner Carollo.
“Are you aware of any back and forth between the city manager and the mayor?” Waldman asked him.
“Come on now!” Carollo responded.
An incredulous Commissioner Carollo is also at the center of city hall controversy.
“He controls the three votes that are needed to pass anything on the agenda. It doesn’t matter which district. Carollo controls the votes to make anything happen right now,” the source said.
Waldman pressed the commissioner, asking him if he thinks he is wielding too much power.
“I wish I did, but I don’t,” Carollo said.MORE NEWS: Miami Police Investigate Bomb Threat
Commissioners will likely vote on Friday whether or not to move forward with the firing of Chief Acevedo.