Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla arrested for money laundering, bribery
Alex Díaz de la Portilla

Alex Díaz de la Portilla
The charges against the Miami Commissioner carry combined penalties of more than 166 years in prison.

Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla has been arrested on numerous corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering and criminal conspiracy, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

The agency alleges that Diaz de la Portilla, 58, and lobbyist William Riley Jr., 48, took part in an alleged scheme to launder $245,000 in “concealed political donations.” The FDLE in a press release claimed that a management services company bribed the Commissioner with the funds in exchange for his support toward building a sports complex in the city.

Investigators also assert that Diaz de la Portilla used funds from two political committees for personal expenditures. They further allege the Commissioner controlled the committees, worth a combined $3.1 million.

The FDLE also claims that the two men accepted more than $15,000 in payments for the failed judicial campaign of Diaz de la Portilla’s brother, Reiner Diaz de la Portilla, without reporting the funds as required by law.

Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s mugshot. Image via Miami-Dade Corrections.

Diaz de la Portilla and Riley were taken into custody Thursday.

They each face:

— One count of money laundering, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

— Three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison per count.

— One count of bribery, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

— One count of criminal conspiracy, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Diaz de la Portilla, a Republican, also faces four counts of official misconduct, each a second-degree felony carrying up to a 15-year prison sentence; one count of campaign contributions in excess of legal limits, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison; and two counts of failure to report a gift, a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum 60-day jail term.

Riley also faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge for failing to disclose lobbyist expenses.

The arrests follow an investigation by the FDLE, Broward State Attorney’s Office and Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.

Gov. Ron DeSantis assigned the investigation to the Broward State Attorney’s Office late last year after Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle asked to be relieved of it to avoid “any possible conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety,” Broward SAO spokesperson Paula McMahon said by email.

Assistant State Attorneys Catherine Maus and Janine Rice are handling the case, which is in the Miami-Dade courts system.

“I thank and commend the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their hard work and dedication in investigating this case with our prosecutors,” Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor said in a statement. “The Broward State Attorney’s Office will pursue justice in this matter.”

Diaz de la Portilla and Riley are booked at the Turner Guilford Knight Detention Center and are expected to appear before a Miami bond court judge on Sept. 15.

The Commissioner is being held on a $72,000 bond, while Riley is being held on a $46,000 bond.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried, who was born and grew up in Miami, responded to news of the arrest just after 3 p.m.

“The corruption that Alex Díaz de la Portilla is accused of is truly staggering, and shatters the trust voters have in elected officials,” she said in a statement. “There is no place for that kind of behavior in our democracy. We challenge our Republican counterparts to join us in a forceful condemnation of government corruption, regardless of political party.

“Our political leaders have a responsibility to serve the public with integrity — something that Commissioner Díaz de la Portilla has failed to do. In light of the severity of these charges, the Florida Democratic Party calls for Commissioner Díaz de la Portilla’s immediate resignation.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


7 comments

  • Ocean Joe

    September 14, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Everybody in Miami is flabbergasted.

    Reply

    • KTB0084027

      September 15, 2023 at 12:18 am

      Only if they weren’t paying attention.

      Reply

  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    September 14, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    No mention of the wayward Commissioner’s politiacal affilitation. Which of course translates into the wayward Commissioner being a Dook 4 Brains Leftist.
    I, Earl Pitts American, just made the call to a highly placed individual in Florida Govornment and ordered a way-back investigation for any criminal intersections with Andrew Gillum and the wayward Commissioner from 1998 forward.
    We shall see what we shall see,
    EPA

    Reply

  • tom palmer

    September 14, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    Psst,! Gillum was acquitted.

    Reply

    • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      September 14, 2023 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks tom,
      We shall see what we shall see.
      EPA

      Reply

  • Arnold Palmer

    September 14, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    Crazy Joe must be having a nervous breakdown right now. And ADLP can’t/won’t post bail? I imagine him and his brothers have accounts just for situations like this.

    Reply

  • My Take

    September 14, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    Caribbean or Central American politics?
    Or old Florida politics, e.g., Broward in the ’40s?

    Reply

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