As he seeks America’s most powerful job, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is taking an unpaid leave of absence from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a litigation firm for which he served as counsel since May 2021.
Suarez’s leave from the firm was effective July 1, two weeks after he announced his candidacy for President.
The move is solely due to his seeking the Republican nomination, a spokesperson told Bloomberg Law, which in June quoted the Mayor saying he was considering a pause in his work there while vying for national office.
“The firm and Francis agreed that he should focus on his presidential campaign,” the Quinn Emanuel spokesperson said. “His unpaid leave was motivated by no other consideration.”
A real estate lawyer by trade, Suarez saw his net worth grow fivefold in his first term as Mayor, according to financial disclosures he filed with the city.
During that time, he took numerous private sector jobs to supplement his part-time role as Mayor, a largely symbolic position that pays roughly $130,000 yearly. In addition to Quinn Emanuel, he receives income from DaGrosa Capital Partners, a private equity firm where he is a partner, and as a paid board member of eMerge Americas, a local technology conference.
He also received pay as an adviser to solar energy startup Palmetto and consultant for cryptocurrency mining company Redivider, according to the Miami Herald, and previously held jobs as a lawyer with Greenspoon Marder, GrayRobinson and Alvarez & Barbara.
Between 2017 and 2021, when he won re-election by a landslide, Suarez’s wealth increased from about $245,000 to more than $1.3 million. By the end of 2022, it more than doubled to $3.4 million, according to the Herald, whose reporting on $170,000 in previously undisclosed payments the Mayor received beginning in 2021 from a private developer seeking project approval within the city led to an ongoing state and federal investigation.
Miami-Dade County’s Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics ordinance bars elected officials from using their official positions to “secure special privileges or exemptions” for themselves or others.
Suarez has denied engaging in any unscrupulous activity.
Since winning the Miami mayoralty, Suarez has successfully marketed the city as a sunnier, more business-friendly alternative to Silicon Valley and Wall Street for tech and financial companies, many of which either relocated to or expanded into South Florida.
His work in that regard earned him widespread acclaim, including the No. 20 spot on Fortune Magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders 2021” list.
Among the transplants to Miami was Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a billionaire hedge funder who in March wrote a $1 million check to Miami For Everyone, a political committee that raised and spent funds for Suarez’s 2021 campaign.
Griffin — who has also donated nearly $11 million to Gov. Ron DeSantis, one of Suarez’s Primary opponents — is one of Quinn Emanuel’s biggest clients. A Quinn Emanuel spokesperson told the Herald Suarez has not worked on cases involving Griffin, and a Citadel spokesperson said Griffin never asked the Mayor for favors.
Suarez faces a Friday deadline to file a comprehensive report with the Federal Election Commission detailing both his and his wife’s itemized income sources and other financial information since the beginning of last year.