A hard-core porn actor who officials fired two years ago from his position as gym manager at Miami Beach’s Police Athletic League program apparently never left the payroll.
PAL’s executive board found out about the moonlighting activities of Bruno Diaz, 47, shortly after he was hired in early 2009. In an executive board meeting that following June, they voted 7-1 to terminate him.
However, to this day, Diaz provides personal training sessions at the gym, whose members include high school kids, according to the PAL’s officials. PAL also shares a building with children enrolled in the city’s after-school park and recreation programs.
“He hasn’t harassed any of the kids,’’ said Robert Jenkins, PAL’s president. “He is not a sexual predator.’’
Jenkins, who voted with the majority two years ago to fire Diaz, who has had two hard-core porn movies released this year. But, PAL ultimately decided to keep the gym manager because the organization’s lawyers said it could be sued if he was let go, Jenkins said.
“How do you get rid of somebody who is reliable and have no complaints against him?’’ Jenkins asked.
Miami Beach’s Mayor Matti Herrera Bower said she had been unaware that Diaz still worked in the PAL building. She thought he had been fired in 2009.
While she expressed concern that the building housing K-8 children in the city’s parks program, she said there is little the city can do about PAL’s gym manager.
The Miami Herald reached Diaz by telephone Tuesday, but he hung up without comment.
PAL is a nonprofit that gets funding from the city, but its gym workers are not employees of the City of Miami Beach or its police force.
Miami Beach’s PAL, the oldest in the state, receives taxpayer dollars, grants and donations that are supposed to be used to forge positive relations between youth and police officers and to fight juvenile delinquency through academics, sports and the arts.
According to records from the 2009 meeting where Diaz was fired, Lynda Veski, a retired Miami Beach police captain and member of PAL’s executive board, said that a porn star “working in our gym does not fit in this organization,’’ adding that it was not the appropriate image for PAL, whose mission is to provide positive role models for young people.
A fellow executive board member later demanded Veski’s resignation after she showed Diaz’s porn images at the board meeting.
Board member Lori Freedline expressed outrage in an email to colleagues on the board that Veski brought Diaz’s pornographic pictures into the PAL building.
The photos were shown to members meeting in the building’s kitchen, which was said to be locked during the meetings.
Freedline objected to the photos but did not object to Diaz being near children. She was the lone vote to keep Diaz on as the gym’s manager.
She could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
The organization received only one complaint about Diaz in all the years he has worked at the gym, according to Jenkins.
Michael McManus, a member of PAL’s gym for 20 years, said he complained to Bower, PAL officials and Miami Beach police several times about Diaz. He was upset over Diaz’ treatment of a beloved gym employee.
PAL officials suspended his membership, McManus said.
“I got a letter from them accusing me of harassment,’’ he said . He was later reinstated, but he never returned.
Children who are members of the gym are only permitted to use the facilities before 5:30 p.m. Adults pay about $500 per year and students pay about $200 a year.
Diaz was hired by PAL’s former consultant, Bernard Winer, a retired cop who resigned from the board in 2009 after it was learned that he had used his tax-exempt corporate credit card for personal use and he had made large-scale purchases without the board’s approval.
Diaz acted as a personal trainer for both Winer and PAL’s former executive director, Harry “Rocky” Morgan.
Miami Beach’s PAL program started in 1980 and now has an annual budget of about $500,000. The organization spent about $120,000 of it in 2010 on youth programs.
According to the PAL’s gym website, Diaz provides personal training sessions at the gym, which has been used as a for-profit enterprise which generates about $200,000 a year in income for PAL.
Erika Deutsch Rotbart, a Boca Raton civil rights attorney and labor law litigator, said the board should do a moral “gut check,’’ based on what is right for their members.
“I think the board can make a decision from a public relations standpoint that it wasn’t in anybody’s interest to keep him on the payroll,’’ Rotbart said. “In the end, you have to think about what kind of message are you sending.’’