Doral

Doral council member tries to report City Manager Joe Carollo to city police

 

jflechas@MiamiHerald.com

A Doral councilwoman tried to file a harassment report with police on Friday after a disagreement with the city manager over guests she brought to City Hall.

Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz had brought two young men into a conference room at City Hall to discuss a summer volunteer program when she was called to a meeting in her office. The two men remained in the conference room for about 10 minutes, according to Ruiz.

City Manager Joe Carollo saw the unattended men and walked into the conference room with Assistant City Manager Al Childress and City Attorney Joe Jimenez.

The men were asked to leave because they were unsupervised. As Ruiz came back from her meeting, she took issue and eventually drove to the police department to file a harassment report.

Ruiz spoke with a Doral police detective, according to Chief Richard Blom, and no report was filed after the meeting.

“I am confident that nothing criminal occurred, otherwise we would have a police report,” Blom said.

After leaving the police station, Ruiz said she plans on sending a memo to city officials regarding the incident. She said she did not think it would cause a problem to leave the men unsupervised for her 10-minute meeting.

“We’re not obligated to be tied at the hip to be with everybody who comes to see us,” she said.

Jimenez said that Carollo has the authority to control access to the city’s third-floor offices, which are restricted areas accessible only with key cards.

“These kids that were there with the councilwoman were told they were not allowed to be here unsupervised,” Jimenez said.

Ruiz has taken on one of the men, 21-year-old Florida International University student Alex Castro, to help her with scheduling and reviewing meeting materials. Castro said they met through a mutual friend.

She had him apply for an internship with the city, which Carollo denied earlier this week. Carollo said he rejected Castro because Castro had started a political action committee in January.

“What I’m not going to let her do is bring in political operatives, like she did before, so she can create problems within our city building,” Carollo said, referencing previous interns Ruiz has had that had worked on her campaigns.

Ruiz and Carollo have been feuding for months.

Ruiz said Castro still works with her in an unofficial capacity.

Castro “is working with me regardless of whether he has an internship,” Ruiz said.

Castro, a political science and international relations major, said he didn’t think he was getting in the way by waiting for Ruiz in the conference room.

“I’m not causing any inconvenience to anyone,” he said. “I’m not a political operative to anyone.”

Carollo said he would provide an intern for Ruiz if she wants one.

“If she wants an intern, I will find her one through the university system,” he said.

Interns are not paid in Doral and can only receive college credit, according to Carollo.

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