A Miamian is being accused of fraud by the Department of Motor Vehicles over his changing his last name to his wife’s for no other reason than love.
Cuba-born real estate investor Lazaro Sopena obtained a driver’s license that reflects he officially took new wife Hanh Dinh’s name.
The DMV, however, took away the license a year later and refuses to recognize him as Lazaro Dinh — even though the federal government issued a passport and Social Security card with his new name.
“It is not surprising that something like this would happen in Florida,” said Cohen & Kuvin’s Spencer Kuvin, Lazaro’s attorney. “It’s a shame that Florida is still clinging to an antiquated ritual identifying a woman as merely an extension of their husband. The tradition of a woman taking the man’s name comes from the time women were possessions.”
The Dinhs were married in 2011 in Miami Beach. And because his wife is from a Vietnamese family of all girls and only one son, Lazaro agreed to help perpetuate the Dinh name.
“I had no particular emotional ties to my last name,” Lazaro said.
He eventually presented his Miami-Dade County marriage certificate along with his new Social Security card to the DMV and obtained his new Florida license. In December, however, he received notice that the DMV suspended his license and accused him of fraud.
The decision was affirmed in a Jan. 14 order after an administrative hearing in which hearing officer Donna George found “substantial evidence” that the DMV properly suspended Lazaro’s license.
“We were told that ‘men just don’t do that,’ ” Kuvin said.
Unlike several states, Florida has no law governing men taking their wife’s name. Therefore, said Kuvin, agencies like the DMV can make their own rules.
There’ll be one Miami Dolphin involved in Super Bowl XLVII next weekend: Lauren Tannehill, the runway-model-like wife of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
She is slated to appear during the big game in two spots for the South Florida chain of sports grills Duffy’s.
In one of the commercials, she plays herself as the object of a diner’s fantasy. Of course, the dude gets busted by his galpal across the table.
At least, Tannehill’s wearing her husband’s No. 17 jersey.
“Having [Lauren Tannehill] as our spokesperson was a no-brainer,” said Duffy’s President Paul Emmett.
The commercials are set to air mainly in the West Palm Beach/Treasure Coast market.
AND FINALLY . . .
. . . Big-screen legend Burt Reynolds’ condition was improving this weekend after he was admitted to the ICU wing of a Palm Beach County hospital Friday. The star of Boogie Nights and Smokey and the Bandit, who’s 76, was hospitalized because of severe dehydration caused by the flu. His rep said Reynolds’ fever subsided, and he was expected to be transferred to a regular room late Saturday . . . Back by popular demand: Nearly naked male and female models will be playing volleyball on the beach again this year after all. The Dirty Dutch Model Beach Volleyball Tournament (that’s really the event’s name) is Feb. 9 and 10 near Eighth Street in Miami Beach.