Francis Suarez bashes ‘radical liberal activists’ after ethics complaint dismissal
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The Miami Mayor said there is a 'coordinated coup 'attempt involving liberal activists and 'local leftist media' to smear him.

Miami Mayor and former GOP presidential candidate Francis Suarez serves in a technically nonpartisan capacity, but that didn’t stop him from lashing out at “radical liberal activists” and the “local leftist media” after the Florida Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against him.

The complaint, filed in November by Democratic activist and Miami resident Thomas Kennedy, alleged Suarez violated state ethics law by spending city funds on personal security during his short White House bid.

On Wednesday, the state ethics board confirmed it had tossed the complaint aside for “lack of legal sufficiency.” Shortly afterward, Suarez released an official city statement declaring vindication and lashing out at Kennedy and local media outlets.

“The Commission’s action exposes the coordinated coup attempt that radical liberal activists, political mercenaries, and their allies in the local leftist media have perpetrated in the City of Miami,” he said.

“For over a year, the Mayor has been the target of a vicious, dishonest smear campaign led by a small group of special interests hellbent on destroying our thriving city’s reputation and its prominent position on the world stage. Mayor Suarez will continue to serve the greater interests of the City of Miami and its residents, despite false and negative attacks as he works to continue making Miami America’s greatest city.”

Contradicting Kennedy’s assertion that Suarez misused public resources for personal political benefit, the Ethics Commission decided the Mayor did not act unlawfully by having Miami Police Department officers accompany him on the campaign trail and rack up taxpayer-funded hotel, meal and transportation expenses.

“There is a public purpose for the provision of protective service to a public officer, even when he travels,” the dismissal said. “Moreover, we note there is no indication in the complaint that (Suarez) used his position to coerce the City into providing the security detail or into ensuring reimbursement would be received for such services.”

The Florida Ethics Commission in September opened an investigation into a separate complaint Kennedy filed last year over pricey tickets Suarez accepted to Formula One and World Cup events.

Another probe is ongoing at the federal level into the Mayor’s business relationship with Rishi Kapoor, a local developer who sought project approval with the city and paid Suarez $10,000 a month through a subsidiary.

The Miami Herald recently uncovered evidence Suarez advocated for a no-bid city contract benefitting the partner of one of his many private employers. Suarez’s side jobs, which netted him millions in a short period, are the subject of yet another investigation State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle confirmed last month that she and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust are conducting.

On Wednesday, the Florida Democratic Party called on Suarez, a Republican part-time official in a largely symbolic city job paying more than $130,000 a year, to resign.

“I wanted to have hope in Francis Suarez and his ability to rise above the mess of Miami politics for the sake of the city. Unfortunately, he’s turned out like so many other Miami Republicans — only in it for himself, with no regard for the well-being of the people of Miami,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried said in a statement.

“If Mayor Suarez refuses to resign, Ron DeSantis needs to do the job for him and suspend him from office. I have no doubt that if Mayor Suarez was a Democrat, he would have been removed from office several scandals ago — because Ron cares more about party politics than good governance. Politicians should be held accountable for their mistakes, no matter their political affiliation.”

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.


  • Dont Say FLA

    February 1, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    Francis, what happened that one January 6th?

    Was that as much of an attempted coup as somebody filing an ethics complaint?

    LOL @ Francis. DIp stick.

  • KathrynA

    February 2, 2024 at 11:31 am

    Notice how the GOP people do all sorts of illegal things and blame it on the left! They think they are entitled to do whatever and get away with it! Maybe somehow Taylor Swift can be blamed too–Why not? The GOP loves their convoluted, idiotic conspiracy theories.

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