DORAL

Doral mayor says hiring Carollo was a mistake, wants to see him fired

 

eflor@ElNuevoHerald.com

Doral Mayor Luigi Boria says he made a mistake in hiring Joe Carollo to be city manager, wants to apologize to residents of his city for doing so and plans to ask the city council to fix his mistake by dismissing Carollo.

“I must admit that I was wrong in selecting Carollo,” Boria said in an interview. “Carollo has erratic behaviors that do not belong in a normal person, an administration professional. I ask all Doral residents and citizens to forgive me for having erroneously chosen this person.”

Boria said he will ask city council members at their next meeting on Wednesday if they want to dismiss Carollo, who is a former mayor Miami.

Boria said he’ll keep asking at every meeting, if necessary.

Boria made his statement after requesting a special session to evaluate Carollo’s work. The meeting, called for last Monday, could not be held because of the lack of quorum and was rescheduled for Oct. 9.

However, Boria announced he was withdrawing his request to evaluate the city manager’s behavior because he lacked support from at least half of the four other council members.

“I have the authority to propose his dismissal, but it’s not up to me to dismiss him or fire him,” Boria said. “It’s the full council that has to make the decision.”

Carollo said Boria could present any concern to the council, alluding to criminal acts in Doral.

“Mayor Boria has the right to ask the council whatever he wants at any meeting,” Carollo said.

“I didn’t come to Doral to commit a crime or cover up anything.”

Carollo said that the real reason for the mayor’s irritation has to do with a real estate project in which his children, Alexander and Lorena Boria, were involved.

The mayor gave millions of dollars to his children, who used the money to finance part of a project of 66 luxury homes they developed with Venezuelan entrepreneur Juan Carlos Tovar, an old business client of Boria’s.

Boria’s children sold their shares to Tovar after the project stalled because of questions from the council about potential ethical or legal ramifications from their vote on an issue linked to the mayor.

The Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission investigated and ruled that Boria had not done anything wrong by recusing himself from voting on anything related to the project.

The council last week finally approved a zoning change affecting the project.

Hours after the vote, Tovar accused Carollo of verbal and physical attacks. Tovar said that Carollo used profanity in criticizing Tovar’s Venezuelan heritage. Carollo has emphatically denied that but acknowledged that he had said that Tovar was a protégé of the Venezuelan government.

Boria said Carollo had also insulted him that night.

According to Boria, once the council session was adjourned, he approached Carollo and asked him if, given his status as a city official, he didn’t think it was inappropriate to confront Tovar, a Doral resident and real estate developer.

“Carollo told me that Tovar had insulted him, that Tovar was my buddy, which is not accurate,” Boria said. “Then he began to insult me ... This happened in the area behind the city council. He insulted me and, looking me in the eyes, said that he was not afraid of me. I responded that I was not afraid of him, either.”

Carollo emphatically denied that version of the events.

Boria said he had been avoiding making reference to the incident.

“There are things that are said that can be later resolved as human beings — talking,” Boria said. “I understand that sometimes emotions and passions make you react inappropriately. But in my case, circumstances lead you to be cautious, especially due to the fact that I am the mayor and I was the one who chose and proposed Carollo for the position of city manager.”

Boria revealed for the first time that his conflicts with Carollo began in the middle of June when the mayor rejected the idea of creating a new position for a second assistant to the manager.

“He had a tantrum. I had no knowledge of his outbursts, it was my first experience,” Boria said.

“Carollo told me he was tired of me, that he couldn’t stand me any longer, that he knew that I never liked anything he did, and that he was going to resign.”

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