The fallout after Michael Pizzi’s arrest last week on federal charges of conspiring to commit extortion are being felt in both of towns in which he served.
In Miami Lakes a special election is being held to fill his mayoral seat, as he has been suspended by Gov. Rick Scott.
But in Medley, Pizzi’s future as town attorney remains unclear.
In a special meeting Wednesday the council was told by its labor attorney John Griffin that documents regarding Pizzi’s contract are still being gathered.
Therefore, Griffin said he cannot make a recommendation on whether the town should terminate Pizzi’s contract.
“We are not in a position to make any type of recommendation now,” Griffin said. “We need to address what the current needs of the town are now and we are urging council to take its time.”
Griffin expects to come back to the council with more information as it comes to him.
In the meantime, the town voted unanimously to hold a special meeting on Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. to appoint an interim attorney.
As of Wednesday night the following candidates have applied for the position:
• Jacqueline A. Arango, an attorney for Akerman Senterfitt and a former federal prosecutor.
• Juan Carlos Bermudez, an attorney for Akerman and former Doral mayor.
• Daniel Espino, an attorney for Becker & Poliakoff, and a former Miami Springs councilman.
• John Hearn, who has his own law practice and is the city attorney for Coral Springs.
• Christopher Zacarias, who has his own law practice and served as a special aide for Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff
“We are going to be calling them in for interviews, and in my case, I will be speaking to them one-on-one, “ Mayor Roberto Martell told reporters following the meeting.
Pizzi has served as town attorney since 2012, earning $192,000 a year.
He was arrested last week as part of a federal undercover operation that took place between 2011- 2013.
In that time Pizzi allegedly worked with lobbyist Richard Candia, who had worked at Becker & Poliakoff, to champion purported federal grant applications for Miami Lakes and Medley in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes.
Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño, who was also suspended by the governor, and Miami lobbyist, Jorge Forte, were both arrested as part of the same operation.
With budget season around the corner, Martell said he wants the city to move forward from Pizzi’s arrest.
“We need for things to happen as quickly as possible,” Martell said. “We need an interim.”