In addition, Al Lorenzo, an advisor to Gimenez, assisted the reelection campaign of State Attorney Katherine Fernández-Rundle. The state attorney ended up recusing herself from the case after it was revealed that one of Lorenzo’s employees had been seen with Cabrera.
While this scandal was unfolding, Miami-Dade Public Corruption Unit detectives were also investigating Robaina, the uncle of former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina. This case began with the mysterious deposit of a package containing 162 ballots in a mailbox a few hours after Cabrera was discovered. The ballots had been deposited by Anamary Pedrosa, then assistant to County Commissioner Esteban Bovo.
Pedrosa told authorities that several boleteros, among them Robaina, delivered the ballots to her at Bovo’s county office in Hialeah because they trusted that she would mail them. Pedrosa said she did not know about the county ordinance, which had been co-sponsored by her boss.
Bovo, who was reelected without opposition, has said he had no knowledge of Pedrosa’s activities.
On Aug. 10, Sergio Robaina was arrested and charged with electoral fraud after a voter told authorities he had pressured him to vote for a candidate and had altered the ballot of his mother, who suffers from dementia.
Private detective Joe Carrillo, who gave the police crucial information against Cabrera, said he believes prosecutors have not diligently pursued the case.
“I believe that the state attorney was also benefiting from operators like Deisy Cabrera,” Carrillo said. “I have said that much directly to the state attorney. I think that there is a lot more here than just a conflict of interest.”
Pedrosa was a key piece in the operation of boleteros operating in Hialeah. In fact, she admitted to detectives that she collected absentee ballots at the homes of two boleteras — Claribel “Beba” Ferrer and Zoa Caridad Barcena.
However, Barcena told detectives that she had personally taken to the Elections Department her own ballot, her husband Leonel’s ballot and those of two friends.
Meanwhile, Ferrer and Robaina have told El Nuevo Herald that it was Pedrosa who asked them for help to collect ballots for Manny Díaz Jr., Eddy González and José Oliva, all candidates for the Florida Legislature who won their races and have repeatedly refused to talk about the issue.
An El Nuevo Herald investigation has documented the participation of both Pedrosa and her mother, Ana Valdés, who collected absentee ballots from relatives and acquaintances in several political campaigns in August. For example:
• Pedrosa organized campaign events for Díaz in at least two apartment buildings for low-income elderly residents of Hialeah and Hialeah Gardens.
• Oliva hired Valdés for his campaign and paid her $250.
• Three elected judges — Don Cohn, Michelle Alvarez Barakat and Tanya Brinkley — paid Valdés a total of $5,700 for campaign services. However, it was Pedrosa who organized the political event at the building where her grandmother lives. A fourth judge, Ivonne Cuesta, benefited from Pedrosa’s services, though no payments appeared in her campaign reports.
Pedrosa received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony, which is at odds with Robaina’s account.