Miami Mayor Francis Suarez

Florida's Democratic Party called for the resignation of Miami Mayor Francis Suárez, alleging that a new corruption allegation should mean his removal from office.

The call follows a Miami Herald report about Suárez pushing for a no-bid contract that could have personal benefits for him. Concretely, the allegation said, he advocated that the city contract be awarded to a software company with ties to one of his private employers (he is a part-time mayor and real estate attorney).

Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried said the city continues to be a "hotbed for political corruption."

"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," she added.

Fried added that if Suárez doesn't resign on his own, Governor Ron DeSantis should suspend him from office, although she showed skepticism about it potentially happening.

"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," she said.

Miami's Skyline.
Miami's skyline AFP

Suárez's office dismissed the allegations, saying that the Florida Ethics Commission rejected the accusation due to a "lack of legal sufficiency." "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."

The document goes on to say that 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." And clarified that Suárez has no plans to resign.

The statement also made a veiled reference to another complaint before the Ethics Committee. Filed by activist Thomas Kennedy, it alleged that he accepted pricey tickets to a series of events, the Miami Formula 1 race and the 2022 Qatar World Cup, among them. State laws requires the mayor to disclose the source of all gifts worth more than $100. Suárez is also reportedly under investigation by the FBI and the State Attorney's Office.

In his annual state of the city speech, which took place this week, Suárez did not discuss the investigations and asked for more authority as a mayor. A similar proposal was rejected in 2018 by voters. It would have made him top official at city hall and put him in charge of the budget, public employees and city contracts.

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