As the fallout from a Hialeah absentee-ballot scandal continues, Doral City Council member Luigi Boria said Tuesday that he will propose canceling the city’s $45,000-a-year contract with the consulting firm Quantum Results after it was revealed that one of its workers is an ex-convict with a long history of fraud.
“Doral is a city with high standards of ethics and integrity,” Boria said. “That’s why I consider it inappropriate to have relations with a firm like this one.”
Since 2007, Quantum Results, a firm owned by political strategist Al Lorenzo, has performed lobbying services for the city, according to public documents.
Lorenzo did not return calls from El Nuevo Herald on Tuesday.
Quantum Results has been at the center of a controversy in an investigation of an alleged absentee-ballot collector, or boletera, in Hialeah that has embroiled the reelection campaigns of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
On Monday, Gimenez announced that he was canceling his contract with Quantum Results after he learned of the firm’s connection to Gerardo Judas “Jerry” Ramos, who in 2009 was convicted of falsifying postage. Ramos also has convictions for grand theft, credit-card fraud and forging checks, among others.
For her part, Fernández Rundle asked that Ramos sever ties with her campaign, though she kept the contract with Quantum Results. Fernández Rundle has not said whether Ramos is the reason she recused herself from the case against Deisy Pentón de Cabrera, who is accused of absentee-ballot fraud in Hialeah. Cabrera had promoted Gimenez’s campaign.
Boria, who in November 2011 voted in favor of renewing the contract with Quantum Results, said he would propose permanently cancelling the contract at an Aug. 22 meeting.
Boria is one of three candidates running for Doral mayor in November. He has hired Sasha Tirador’s political consulting firm, G&R Strategies, to manage his campaign. The other two candidates for mayor are Pete Cabrera and Frank Bolaños, whose campaign has hired Quantum Results to promote his candidacy.
Bolaños described Boria’s proposal as a “hypocritical act” given that Tirador is known as “The Queen of Absentee Ballots.”
“Now he wants to depict himself as pure, when he is not,” Bolaños said. “Boria is doing again what he has done in other occasions: hiding his hand after throwing a stone. I believe he does it due to lack of experience, which is why every time there is any kind of issue in Doral he throws himself belly first in the pool.”
Doral City Manager Yvonne Soler-McKinley said Quantum Results has shown successful performance in lobbying the county and state governments, saving the city millions of dollars and getting state financing for local projects.
Soler-McKinley said that proof of those cases is Lorenzo’s lobbying to exonerate Doral from paying $10 million that was to be returned to Miami-Dade County when Doral became a city. She also mentioned lobbying to finance the construction of the second stage of the Northwest 25th Street highway that crosses the Palmetto Expressway.
“We pay $45,000 a year and save $10 million,” Soler-McKinley said. “It has been a win-win deal for our city.”
Since Thursday, El Nuevo Herald has requested from Doral documents detailing all the lobbying work performed by Quantum Results for the city, but they had not been delivered by Tuesday.