HomeTop StoriesCoral Gables says there is a "criminal investigation" into recalls

Coral Gables says there is a “criminal investigation” into recalls

Law enforcement is investigating recruitment for the recall of Coral Gables’ mayor, according to the city.

In response to a media outlet’s request for body camera footage of police interacting with officers collecting signatures in an effort to recall Mayor Vince Lago, city spokeswoman Martha Pantin said the city cannot turn over the data because “there is currently a criminal investigation runs”. .” She said the city provided the data to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Pantin did not provide more details.

Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Lissette Valdes-Valle confirmed in an email Friday evening that the office has received the data and is “looking into it with FDLE.”

The FDLE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news comes hours after the End of Corruption political committee, which is behind the recall, submitted petition signatures to the city clerk. City Clerk Billy Urquia counted 1,719 petitions during an initial count on Friday evening. The group needs 1,650 verified signatures from registered voters to move on to the next phase of the process. The signatures will now go to the county elections department for verification.

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David Winker, End the Corruption’s registered agent, said he had not been notified of an investigation and said he suspects Lago has filed a complaint with law enforcement.

“No one involved in the recall has received any investigation from law enforcement,” Winker said. He added: “I welcome any investigation because everything about the recall is being done in full compliance with the law.”

During a lively exchange with reporters outside his office Friday afternoon, Lago did not respond when asked whether he had asked police to investigate the detectives. But in a statement, he focused on recruitment efforts.

“These pay-to-play interests wrongly portray the recall as a resident-driven process, but the reality is far from that,” Lago said. “Our residents were misled and deceived by illegally paid campaigners who used questionable tactics, false narratives and outright defamatory accusations against our elected officials and me in particular. This manipulation of residents undermines the integrity of the entire process.”

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