Fabián Basabe aide files ethics complaint accusing Aventura Mayor of berating him

Basabe Gonzalez Weinberg
Several witnesses said the incident didn’t happen, however.

An aide to Miami Beach Republican Rep. Fabián Basabe has lodged an official complaint against Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg for allegedly berating him at a crowded gathering in the city in late August.

In a filing with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, district aide Adrian Gonzalez said Weinberg approached him twice, letting loose loud, profanity-laden outbursts about Basabe.

Several people who attended the event, including one Gonzalez named in his complaint, said the incident didn’t happen.

Gonzalez, 49, said Weinberg, 62, accosted him at Condo Connect, an Aug. 30 conference on condominium management and governance at the Hilton Aventura. Gonzalez was there representing Basabe, and said the first exchange between him and the Mayor happened shortly after he entered the hotel’s main banquet hall with an aide of Miami Rep. Vicki Lopez.

“He quickly turned this into a very hostile situation when he came aggressively at me and started yelling at me saying, ‘did you see what your boss F*****did to me?? Does he know who I am?’ and continued to tell me that everyone in the city loves him as he is so very popular,” Gonzalez said in a statement accompanying the complaint.

Adrian Gonzalez said Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg let loose two curse-filled tirades on him during a crowded event in the city on Aug. 30. Several attendees of the event said they witnessed no such interaction. Image via Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said Aventura Vice Mayor Amit Bloom was next to Weinberg and saw what happened. Later at the same event, Gonzalez said, Weinberg again shouted and cursed at him in reference to Basabe, whom he accused of trying to seek a recall election in the city with the aim of ousting the Mayor.

“I was completely horrified as people around just kept looking on and wondering if I did something wrong to upset the Mayor,” he said, adding that he has not yet received an apology. “I do feel his behavior is very unbecoming of an elected official and more importantly verbally attacking an employee of the Florida House of Representatives that has nothing to do with this issue is just unacceptable.”

Speaking by phone, Basabe said Weinberg took offense to a call Basabe made to Aventura City Hall to inquire about the process for calling a recall election. He said a constituent had repeatedly called his office for assistance in the matter and he was simply seeking information.

In a statement released to several media outlets, Basabe suggested Weinberg should leave office if he isn’t willing to work civilly with him and his staff. He said he witnessed a similar verbal altercation during a visit Aventura officials made to Tallahassee earlier this year. On that occasion, Basabe said, Weinberg “publicly humiliated” Aventura City Manager Ron Wasson.

“This scene was beyond embarrassing and wrong but now he has taken aim at someone I am responsible for and I will not stand for this,” Basabe said.

Weinberg, Bloom, Wasson and others said Basabe is lying about the alleged Tallahassee incident too.

“Since being elected, Rep. Basabe has proven that his top priority is seeking attention, regardless of whether it is negative or positive,” Weinberg said in a statement. “His fabricated allegations are a continuation of his efforts to return to his reality TV days. I have no interested in being part of his trash television program.”

Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg denied aggressively speaking to Gonzalez. Image via Howard Weinberg.

Weinberg, a Democrat, said that while the complaint had been shared with members of the media “within hours of being filed,” he still hasn’t seen it.

He said he’d spoken briefly with Gonzalez at the event, but never uncivilly.

“I have no doubt the ethics commission will dismiss whatever lies he is telling to distract from the sexual assault and battery allegations he is facing,” he said, referring to a lawsuit two of Basabe’s former employees filed against him in July for what they describe as a pattern of harassment and unwanted touching.

Bloom, a registered Republican and executive committee member of the Miami-Dade GOP, said she never witnessed Weinberg speaking “to anyone in a loud, vulgar, or inappropriate fashion” at the Condo Connect event.

“I am stunned that anyone would allege otherwise,” she said. “I will be happy to make this statement under oath to the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.”

Wasson said that “at no time” during the Tallahassee visit did Weinberg chastise him or any other city official “publicly or privately.”

In a joint statement, Bloom and Aventura Commissioners Rachel Friedland and Michael Stern said they also were part of the trip to the Capitol. They said the group spent “nearly every minute together” when not in their hotel rooms.

“Any claims that Mayor Weinberg did anything to publicly embarrass our City Manager is a fabrication,” they said.

Friedland is a Democrat. Stern has no party affiliation.

Basabe said the statements from the Aventura officials weren’t from them but a spokesperson for the city.

“In my opinion, those statements do not reflect the conversations I’ve had with them individually,” he said. “I’m beyond shocked, when a simple apology could have resolved this, that this is where we’re at.”

Rep. Fabián Basabe said Gonzalez is not a liar and deserves a apology from Weinberg. Image via LYNNE SLADKY/AP.

He provided Florida Politics with a copy of Gonzalez’s two-page complaint. A spokesperson for the ethics commission said he could “neither confirm nor deny” its existence.

Jose Arrojo, the ethics commission’s Executive Director, told Florida Politics by email that an elected official speaking aggressively and using harsh language toward another person is not a violation of county ethics ordinances. It would be “factually relevant” as part of an ethics investigation, he said, if an official’s rude or discourteous behavior was part of an attempt to secure a specific benefit for the offending party or someone else.

“So, for example, if a government executive or elected official berates and directs offensive and aggressive language at a subordinate, then this is simply unfortunately boorish behavior,” he said. ‘However, if the ill-mannered behavior is designed to compel or threaten a subordinate to provide a job, award a public contract, or waive a fine, contrary to law or practice, then it would be relevant conduct.”

Florida Politics contacted Lopez, who was among the marquee speakers at the Condo Connect event, to substantiate Gonzalez’s claim that her aide saw Weinberg reprimand him but received no response by press time.

Senate Democratic Leader-designate Jason Pizzo, another featured guest at the event, said he and two of his staff members — one of whom, he said, sat at the same table as Gonzalez — also didn’t hear first- or second-hand about any nastiness from Weinberg.

“I’ve known Howard a long time. He loves his city, his job and what he does, and I’ve always seen him as a good public servant and a relative teddy bear,” Pizzo said by phone.

He added that Gonzalez is hardly a political newcomer or averse to conflict, noting that Gonzalez ran for the Miami City Commission twice, in 2019 and 2021. In the second race, Gonzalez made news after a confrontation with a campaign sign snatcher turned physical.

“If there’s other people around, I get it possibly being humiliating. But those people should be able to corroborate it,” Pizzo said. “If no one was around, he would have had a license to say, ‘Mayor, calm the f**k down.’ Adrian’s in his late 40s — married with children, was a City Commission candidate. He’s not a kid.”

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 [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Fabian Basabe

    October 4, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    “It should also be noted, the statement prepared and provided by their communications director, currently costing the taxpayers of Aventura $180,000 per year, conflicts with the individual sentiments I received from members of the commission and the city manager.” FB

    • Aventura Resident

      October 6, 2023 at 7:13 am

      Is this normal for a city like Aventura to have a $180,000 a year communications director ? Or did they anticipate some crisis management coming their way when they hired him with no bid ?

  • Arielle Peezer

    October 4, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    Fabian Basabe is an assclown who has never had a job in his life. The self-proclaimed “family man” parades around his wife and son while living with his boyfriend who he often pretends is his hired photographer.

    When he’s not sexually assaulting young men, he’s gaslighting the public because he thinks everyone except him is stupid.

    The lying legislator is a stain on humanity.

  • David Schwartz

    October 4, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    Fabian Basabe has zero credibility. Republicans don’t trust him. Democrats don’t trust him. No one likes him.

    Less than 4% of his constituents have a favorable opinion of him.

    He has a better chance of people believing he is straight than he does of getting reelected.

  • Malka Shahar

    October 4, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    I know personally Fabian and Adrian as very responsible people. I believe them. I live in a large community in Aventura City and our people are also very grateful for the service Fabian and his team provided for us.

  • Legislative Aide

    October 4, 2023 at 9:43 pm

    Basabe is a serial sexual predator. He belongs in prison, not in public office.

  • Aventura Resident

    October 4, 2023 at 10:06 pm

    The Mayor of Aventura is known for this behavior. He berates everyone who makes any negative comment or claps during his commission meetings. Not surprising if he is screaming at other government officials the way he screams at his constituents

  • Michael Stern

    October 4, 2023 at 11:50 pm

    I am first reading this complaint. This is 100% made up. It’s disappointing to see this type of behavior in government. More time should be spent on representing the people who elected him and less on this noise.

    • Michael L Stern

      October 6, 2023 at 7:56 am

      Someone who does not publish their name when responding publically has zero credibilty.

  • Greg

    October 6, 2023 at 7:09 am

    This guy has made so many awful decisions as Mayor in one year. The people of Aventura are protesting every commission meeting. Just read the comments on the city of Aventura’s instagram to see how the people really feel about this guy. Short fuse at the commission meetings in public so I can’t imagine how he acts when cameras aren’t on

  • Aventura tesident

    October 6, 2023 at 8:03 am

    The situation in Aventura is terrible. The mayor and commissioners are destroying Aventura! Its parks, its green areas, the traffic is chaos and if these personnel remain in power, Aventura will be an unviable city. It’s good to know that we are not alone in this. Thank you Fabian for making known The terrible mayor that we have.

  • Connie

    October 6, 2023 at 9:12 am

    This could be Fabian’s big chance for re-election ! Everyone in Aventura dislikes this Mayor and his corrupt selfish deals. Aventura will stand behind anyone who stands up to him!!!

  • Mark K.

    October 6, 2023 at 11:40 am

    This is not surprising. The mayors behavior at commission meetings is very unprofessional and bully like. He’s defensive, hostile, and unwilling to see multiple sides to any issue. We appreciate Fabian and his staff standing up to him!

  • Justin M

    October 6, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    How many times has Senator Pizzo had to tell his friend Howard Weinberg “Mayor, calm the F$$K down” 🤣

Comments are closed.


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