Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd of supporters during the Keep Florida Free Tour. / PHOTO: AP (Bethany Blankley, The Center Square ) Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended another public official from office, this time Jose Angel Martinez, Miami-Dade County Commissioner-District 11, after he was arrested on Aug. 30.
Martinez was arrested “for felony charges of unlawful compensation for official behavior… and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation,” in violation of state statutes, which are second- and third-degree felonies, the governor’s office said.
DeSantis’s communications director issued a statement saying, “it is in the best interest of the residents of Miami-Dade County that Martinez be immediately suspended from the public office that he holds” and that his replacement would be appointed in the coming weeks.
Martinez first held his nonpartisan District 11 seat in 2000. He ran for Congress in 2014 as a Republican and lost. He then ran again for county commissioner in 2016 and won. He won reelection in 2020.
According to his arrest warrant, Martinez allegedly accepted a total of $15,000 in payments from a supermarket and property owner who was fighting a county ordinance and subsequent fines for being in violation, NBC News Miami reported . The owner allegedly made the payments while also lobbying the commissioners to amend the ordinance.
Martinez’s attorney, Benedict Kuehne, issued a statement saying the charges were “baseless” and “unfounded.” While Martinez looks forward to clearing his name, Kuehne said, he also supports whomever DeSantis chooses as his replacement.
“The Commissioner offers his support to whomever the [Gov.] decides to appoint to the Miami-Dade County District 11 seat. The most important issue continues to be providing services and protecting the well-being of the residents of the District 11 and of our entire community,” Kuehne said.
“Commissioner Martinez looks forward to being completely vindicated and cleared […]
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