El Nuevo Herald has left multiple messages on Díaz’s cellphone and at his home during the past two months. Last week, a woman who identified herself as his mother-in-law said she would deliver the message. The state representative has yet to respond.
Shortly after the visit with Díaz, Pedrosa took judicial candidates Michelle Alvarez-Barakat, Tanya Brinkley and Ivonne Cuesta to the same building. Alvarez-Barakat and Brinkley paid $2,550 and $1,800, respectively, to Valdés for campaign work even though building officials said they did not recall seeing her there. Cuesta’s campaign finance records do not show payments to Valdés.
Alvarez-Barakat, Brinkley and Cuesta declined to comment for this story, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
Finally, on July 20, Pedrosa took Circuit Judge Don Cohn to meet her grandmother’s neighbors. Cohn, who won his reelection bid, told El Nuevo Herald in August that Pedrosa translated for him at the event because he does not speak Spanish. Cohn paid Valdés — who he said worked with her daughter — $1,350 for organizing that visit and distributing literature for his campaign.
The next week, Pedrosa quit her job with Bovo, just days before the absentee ballot scandal emerged. Her attorney has said she is studying for the LSAT, an exam to enter law school. Pedrosa did not respond to interview requests for this story.
“She’s traumatized,” said Alberto Rodríguez, whose girlfriend is Pedrosa’s cousin.
Rodríguez’s absentee ballot was among the 164 at the center of the criminal probe. He said Pedrosa collected his ballot in July, as she had in May 2011, when Bovo was running for a seat on the County Commission.
Pedrosa began working for Bovo in 2009 while he was a state representative. When he ran for the county seat last year, he paid Pedrosa $2,000 to work on his campaign. It was around that time that Pedrosa asked those close to her to vote absentee.
“I was used to voting on Election Day, at the polls, but Anamary told me I should request an absentee ballot so I could vote at home,” said Rodríguez, 42.
The absentee ballots of Pedrosa, her mother and her boyfriend also were part of the bundle of 164.
After easily winning the county race, Bovo assigned Pedrosa to handle constituent services at a new office in west Hialeah. She mostly served elderly residents who arrived with questions about federal, state and county government aid.
Among her regular visitors were several prominent boleteros and campaign activists, including Robaina. Another was Deisy Cabrera, who has also been charged with electoral fraud.
Pedrosa often worked long hours and didn’t think Bovo appreciated her. She complained to constituents that Bovo would not raise her $36,300 annual salary. According to Rodríguez, Pedrosa lives with and supports her mother, who receives government assistance.
In emails to a work colleague, Pedrosa vented her frustration with work and with her boss.
“He has no clue of what I go thru here everyday neither does he consider it,” she wrote in April. “Today the least that I have had is people crying complaining screaming etc.”