North Miami / NMB

North Miami

North Miami planning election to replace mayor

 

ldixon@MiamiHerald.com

North Miami city leaders said Wednesday that there would be no change in the day-to-day operations of their city after Mayor Lucie Tondreau was charged with mortgage fraud and suspended by Gov. Rick Scott.

The remaining City Council and staff said they were prepared to continue “business as usual” and to prepare for a special election to replace Tondreau.

Under North Miami’s system of government, the mayor is chairwoman of the City Council but not the chief executive of City Hall; instead the council hires a professional city manager to oversee day-to-day operations.

The city’s charter states that if an elected official is removed from office, and the official has served less than half their term, a special election must take place within 60 days to replace them. Tondreau was elected mayor last June for a two-year term.

“The city clerk is in contact with the Miami-Dade Department of Elections to set an exact date for this election,” said Acting Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime.

Tondreau turned herself in to the regional FBI office Tuesday morning, a day after FBI agents came to her home to arrest her, while she was in Las Vegas on city business. She was released on a $50,000 bond and declared her innocence after she left the courthouse.

The suspended mayor is facing conspiracy and wire fraud charges and is set to be arraigned June 30.

She is accused of participating in a scheme with three other defendants to set up “straw” borrowers to buy 20 South Florida homes while she and her collaborators defrauded $8 million from mortgage lenders.

Bien-Aime said that he was “shocked” and “saddened” by Tondreau’s indictment, but did not address any other details of the case.

“It’s not up to me or to any citizen to conclude whether or not someone is innocent or should be convicted of any crime,” Bien-Aime said. “Please, let the system prevail.”

Councilman Scott Galvin said he believes that Bien-Aime, who has only served on the council for about a year, will be ready to handle the task ahead of him.

“The good news is we’ve all worked together for at least a year so we sort of know each other and have a feel for where it’s going to go,” Galvin said. “The basic parameters of how the game is played haven’t changed.”

Galvin and Bien-Aime said they are not planning to run for mayor in the special election, but Councilwoman Marie Steril said Wednesday she would consider it.

“Mainly, if I decided to run for mayor, my goal would be to create stability in the city,” Steril said.

Read more North Miami / NMB stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK