Lobbyist Richard Candia’s arrest in kickback scandal surprises those who know him



Richard F. Candia, the center of a kickback and bribery scandal that resulted in the arrests of two mayors, was known to fellow South Florida lobbyists as a shy, clean-cut, honest person.

“When I heard two lobbyists had been arrested, I started to think who it could be. Richard Candia didn’t even cross my mind,” said Nelson Diaz, a lobbyist who was replaced at the Becker & Poliakoff law firm by the 48-year-old Candia earlier this year.

But FBI recordings show Candia was a schemer and bribe-carrying bagman who readily recruited Sweetwater Mayor Manny Moroño and Miami Lakes Mayor Mike Pizzi into the alleged scheme.

Candia got his start in politics as a legislative aide to then-state Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and then went on to lobby. His clients included Moroño and Pizzi’s cities, the University of Miami and Florida International University.

Candia was hired at Becker along with his partner, Jose Fuentes. In 2011, Candia joined the Fuentes Rodriguez Consulting Group.

Candia reported lobbying compensation of $40,000 to $70,000 from the city of Sweetwater in 2011 and between $20,000 to $50,000 in 2012 for both legislative and executive branch lobbying. In 2012, Candia reported being paid by Miami Lakes between $20,000 and $50,000.

Miami Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald


    Six people rescued from water off Key Biscayne

    Six people on inner tubes were rescued off the coast of Key Biscayne Wednesday morning.

  • Crime Watch

    Scam emails provide a glimpse of what’s out there

    Today I’m going to provide you with actual emails that have been sent by readers notifying me of scams they have received in the last month or so. I’m doing this so everyone can see the actual emails, some have misspelled words as well as grammar and when you get them you can use the “DELETE” key … I can’t tell you how many people have fallen for these scams, so I figured it would be fun to print them and maybe the scammers reading this column will know we’re on to them.

The long-awaited PortMiami tunnel is set to open to traffic at 6 a.m. Monday after construction delays.

    Delayed Miami port tunnel to open Monday morning

    Without speeches or brass bands, just — hopefully — a smooth and steady flow of thousands of vehicles, PortMiami’s new tunnel will open to public traffic at 6 a.m. Monday after 11 weeks of exasperating and costly delays.

Miami Herald

Join the

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