Miami Lakes

Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi has colorful past

 

parafshar@gmail.com

On the dais, Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi appears to be always in control.

After all, Pizzi, 51, knows the rules: He’s town attorney for Medley (earning $192,000 a year), a criminal defense lawyer, and a University of Miami law school graduate (No. 1 in his class.)

It’s why many were shocked when federal agents led him out of Miami Lakes City Hall in handcuffs on Tuesday. He faces bribery charges stemming from an FBI sting investigation.

“He always saying things have to be done right,” said resident Hope Reynolds.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was first elected to the Miami Lakes Community Council in 1998, before the town was incorporated. A proposal to build on American Indian burial grounds pushed him into politics.

“I had this terrible notion that I wasn’t giving anything back to the community,” he told the Miami Herald in 1998.

He has served as an elected official for the town ever since, never losing an election (He earns $18,000 a year as mayor, plus a $600-a-month car allowance).

During his tenure, he has been investigated at least twice by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust, although the complaints — that he meddled in a bid process and that he failed to properly register as a lobbyist — didn’t stick.

Every time, he blamed the investigations on politics — just like when his law office was the target of a fire that authorities said was intentionally set.

Pizzi, a divorced father of two, first came to South Florida in 1988 and worked in Opa-locka and Liberty City as a parole officer. He now lives in a townhouse and drives a bright blue Kia Optima, which was still parked outside City Hall Tuesday evening.

Prior to Tuesday, Pizzi’s most recent headlines have stemmed from his Sept. 6th boxing match with Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez to raise funds for charity.

Pizzi had been training every morning. His trainer, Mickey Demos, said Pizzi arrived “in good spirits” at the Biscayne Boxing & Fitness Club at 7 a.m. Tuesday. They practiced for about an hour before the mayor left for an 8:30 a.m. appointment.

Said Demos: “I am assuming the fight is off.”

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category