Almost half of the money raised by the Miami Voice PAC in their effort to recall Miami-Dade Commissioner Natacha Seijas might be an illegal contribution.
As published earlier in this blog, the PAC -- which filed petitions last month to put Seijas on the same ballot as Mayor Carlos Alvarez -- reported almost $13,000 in contributions as of Dec. 31, including $5,000 from Myami Marketing, the firm owned by the PAC founder and chairwoman.
Because she admitted to Ladra that she made that contribution in proxy for a client, she may have committed a crime.
According to Florida Statutes, it is a first degree misdemeanor to knowingly and intentionally make a donation to a candidate or a PAC with somebody else's money. When someone does it twice, it becomes a felony, said Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Joseph Centorino, who heads the public corruption unit.
"It totally subverts the entire purpose of public disclosure laws if someone makes a contribution on behalf of someone else," Centorino said, using the term "laundering" and speaking only in general terms. He did say he would welcome information on anything like that. (Done.)
PAC Chairwoman Vanessa Brito -- who owns Myami Marketing and reactivated the corporation in Florida records on Dec. 15, two days before making the contribution -- would not return our calls. And two messages left with the PAC attorney, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi, have not been answered.
But last week, Brito said she got the funds from a "client" who gave it to her for the recall effort (read: funnel). She would not disclose who that client was and said it was the true donor's "prerogative" to disclose that. (Well, apparently, not according to Florida statutes.)
So, I'm asking publicly, since she won't tell: Will the real contributor to the Miami Voice PAC please stand up?