That was a period of time when they couldnt get out of their own way, she said.
Then it was on to Doral at the end of 2008, when Forte was hired as a procurement consultant to help craft contract language. He spent about 18 months working out of a small, closet-like office on the third floor of City Hall. Doral Commissioner Sandra Ruiz said Forte was often at the side of Maroño during League of Cities functions, or at Dade Days in Tallahassee.
It was not unusual to see him with [Maroño]. And it was not unusual to see him at City Hall in Doral, she said. I knew he was within those circles.
Former Doral Mayor J.C. Bermudez said he noticed Forte more often at League of Cities functions than at City Hall.
He wasnt a guy you saw every day, Bermudez said. Hes a nice, likeable guy, not showy at all.
Forte helped County Commissioner Esteban Steve Bovo set up his transition staff after Bovo was elected in 2011. That paid off when the commissioner named him his chief of staff. The job lasted only nine months. Bovo said Forte left on his own.
He offered his resignation and left in good standing, as far as Im concerned, he said.
Despite the departure, Forte was a busy man. That same year, state records show he started up two companies, 7 Strategies and Municipal Procurement Services, which consults on government contracts. Forte already ran another statewide consulting company called Realm Consulting, started in 2009.
Arnie Alonso, chief of staff to Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, said Forte approached the city to offer consulting services, but was turned down.
Forte also signed contracts worth about $167,000 with the city of Doral for all three of his companies, as first reported by the blog Political Cortadito. They spanned from 2009 through March of this year.
In 2009 and 2010, Doral paid Fortes Municipal Procurement almost $141,645 for handling contracts with city vendors, from a vehicle-towing service to a parks concession stand. His other two companies, 7 Strategies and Realm, made a combined $25,000 for working out an extended lease on a Doral property where a new police station had been planned.
Doral City Manager Joe Carollo said Forte has no present contracts with the city.
On June 20, Forte inked a $2,000-a-month, no-bid deal with Sweetwater, the city where he got his first taste of public service. The resolution, which passed unanimously, said Mayor Maroño had determined there is a need to hire Forte to oversee the construction of a new police station.
On Thursday, Sweetwater Communications Director Michelle Hammontree-Garcia said recently installed Mayor Jose M. Diaz no relation to the county commissioner intends terminate that contract.
Were doing an audit of his contracts, she said. Theyre going to suspend them.
Forte also capitalized on his political contacts in Broward County. He was hired briefly this year as a $187-an-hour consultant at the Broward Sheriffs Office, after supporting Sheriff Scott Israel in last falls election. Israel was police chief in North Bay Village when Forte was the city manager.
Fortes job, according to the Sun Sentinel, was to analyze whether BSO should continue to lease vehicles or use surplus cruisers in the Child Protective Investigations Section.
On Feb. 13, two days after he was asked to start that analysis, BSO put out a bid for a three-year lease contract. But BSO still paid Forte $15,000 for his report, issued a month later.
Miami Herald staff writers Patricia Mazzei and Jay Weaver, and El Nuevo Herald staff writer Enrique Flor, contributed to this report.