Pulido, 41, a private school administrator who lost his council seat last year, said he was shaken by the revelations.
When my wife and I first heard the tape and read the police report, we were frightened and deeply saddened by the possibility that our children were placed in harms way by Mr. Pizzis plan to physically hurt me, said Pulido, who learned about the allegations from a Herald reporter, not the police.
McGrath, the confidential informant who agreed to speak with two Herald reporters, said he also took Pizzis threats against Pulido seriously.
There was only one recording of Pizzis threats. But police records show McGrath reported his concerns after claiming Pizzi had raised the topic of planting narcotics in Pulidos vehicle on two earlier occasions.
He said it more than once, at least to me, McGrath said, calling his undercover tape recording of Pizzi very self explanatory. I dont know why they didnt take it until the end. I think they had plenty. Could they make it stick? I dont know.
McGrath told police that part of Pizzis hatred of Pulido stemmed from the councilmans opposition to a development deal opening vacant land to more than 500 homes, a project requiring the paving of eight blocks of Northwest 87th Avenue. In 2011, the town council, led by Pizzi, voted 6-1 to back the project, with Pulido as the dissenter.
The 2010 probe run by the Miami-Dade police corruption bureau petered out after Pizzi never followed up on the threats recorded that night outside Shulas. Detectives noted in their investigative report that Pizzi appeared to have grown apprehensive in dealing with McGrath and was backing away from him, leading to negative results in their last few meetings.
The investigation was largely suspended in October 2010, with one follow-up police surveillance of Pizzi in November 2011. It was formally closed earlier this year. But a series of reports from two-and-a-half months of active investigation, and a scratchy five-minute segment in a three-hour recording, also show a mayor talking like a wannabe wiseguy even if the threats ultimately proved to be hot air.
The now-closed Miami-Dade police probe began in the summer of 2010, when McGrath contacted Miami-Dades public corruption bureau with a startling revelation.
McGrath, the former president of the Windmill Gates Homeowners Association, chaired the towns planning and zoning board for more than two years. He was a former Hialeah police officer who was shot, by mistake, by an undercover Dade police officer during an undercover drug bust in 1974.
McGrath, police reports show, claimed that Pizzi first floated the idea of McGrath planting cocaine inside Pulidos car over a July 19, 2010, lunch in Miami Lakes. The idea, he said, was that Pizzi would then tip off the cops, who would arrest Pulido, and also tip off the media.
McGrath, in the police report, said he initially believed it was just Mr. Pizzi ranting his frustrations and paid no attention to his comments.
But three days later, at a dinner party at El Pimiento Restaurant, Pizzi led McGrath out to the parking lot, again to propose the idea, according to the police report. McGrath then went to police, agreeing to wear a secret electronic recording device, to try and build a case against Pizzi.