“I have been instructed by my attorneys not to go into any further detail,” Pizzi said.
Pizzi is accused of accepting $1,000 cash from Candia in his Miami Lakes Town Hall office, $2,000 cash from the undercover agents, and $3,000 cash from Candia at the mayor’s office at Medley Town Hall, where he worked as the town attorney. All three alleged payments were made after he had won re-election as mayor in May 2012.
Cash campaign donations are prohibited by law.
In only instance did Pizzi link the donation to a political purpose. According to the criminal complaint, Pizzi instructed lobbyist Candia and the undercover agents posing as sleazy Chicago businessmen to make the $3,000 donation to Miami Lakes Voters for Good Government, the PAC he supported.
On June 27, Candia, who at that point was cooperating with the FBI, asked Pizzi in a recorded conversation: “Do you still need that money for the PAC?’’
Pizzi responded that there was a “problem” because he had already “laid out the money himself” for the committee and wasn’t sure whether “the PAC can get money and then reimburse me.”
On July 1, Candia showed up at Pizzi’s Medley Town Hall office. The two men went into a closet, according to the FBI complaint, and Candia handed Pizzi an envelope with $3,000 cash.
Records for Miami Lakes Voters for Good Government show no deposits or contributions from Pizzi to the PAC during the past year.
The report shows the committee paid $3,000 to Donald Alvarado for canvassing on June 7, 2013, almost three weeks before Pizzi allegedly requested the money. Alvarado could not be located for comment.
Miami Lakes Voters for Good Government, the PAC, was created in March 2012 to support local candidates, including Pizzi, and to collect money for a Miami Lakes charter change that would have made all council seats citywide, eliminating single districts. The measure prevailed in July. Although Pizzi isn’t listed on the filing documents, he campaigned in support of citywide seats and searched for contributions to the PAC.
Miami-Dade Elections records list McHenry Hamilton, a South Florida certified public accountant, as the PAC’s treasurer. Hamilton declined Monday to answer questions about the PAC, saying: “I’m listed as a witness [in Pizzi’s case] and can’t discuss anything.”