The Miami Voice PAC that led the recall of former county commissioner Natacha Seijas has vowed not to officially endorse anyone in the mayor's race (yeah, riiiight. More on that later). But the group that allegedly speaks for the masses is not above promoting an old pal of the PAC chair -- without so much as pretending to consider the other candidates.
Vanessa Brito told Ladra that she did seek information from other hopefuls in the election for state house in district 102 (Hialeah/Miami Lakes) before endorsing Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño's chief of staff, Francisco Lago, an old friend who worked with her at FIU's Metropolitan Center in 2003 under the direction of Dario Moreno.
"They didn't answer the email," she told me Monday.
But that is the same, lame excuse she used last year when the non-profit Unity Coalition, on which she sits on the board and serves as political chair, endorsed every single candidate she worked with. Back then, several opponents to her candidates said they were not contacted or given a chance to express their positions -- just like two of the three candidates in this race up against Lago, who said he was bitten by the politics bug as he campaigned last year for Gov. Rick Scott. In those cases, the endorsements went to people paying her or helping her on campaigns.
(Watch for two more Miami Vice endorsements soon for Miami commission candidate Kate Callahan and North Miami Beach Councilman Scott Galvin, who is up for re-election. Brito, who worked on Galvin's unsuccessful bid for U.S. Congress last year, is working on both campaigns).
In the 102 state race, Lago said Brito is not getting paid. But he admitted they were close.
"Vanessa knows me very well," Lago said Tuesday. "I'm a proven administrator. I've worked with in the city of Sweetwater for a long time. She knows what I'm capable of doing."
Lago said Moreno, Brito's mentor, was not working for him either -- on staff anyway (his campaign manager is Sasha Tirador, who is also working on the county mayor's bid of Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina. But Moreno is helping him, too. "He's a personal friend. I talk to him every other day," Lago said.'
Wait a minute... maybe Brito is still working for Moreno, who also worked with Norman Braman on the mayoral recall (Brito said she is doing data research, what Moreno does, for Braman) and for a Coral Gables candidate (Brito worked for another PAC, funded in part by Robaina's supporters, that bashed his strongest opponent).
But neither a paid position nor a past friendship is good reason enough for a PAC that claims to be the "voice of the people," to endorse someone. So Ladra asked Brito to forward the emails she allegedly sent to the other candidates... you know, the ones she said were never responded to.
Naturally, she refused: "You know I am not sending you anything," she said.
If she hadn't hung up, I would have said. "Because you know you don't have anything to send."
Because, people, it's easy to lie if you never have to back up what you say.