Drama in Doral: In a three-hour meeting, city manager and mayor trade attacks

10/16/2013 12:52 AM

10/16/2013 12:56 PM

In a surreal Doral council meeting Tuesday night, controversial City Manager Joe Carollo spent nearly three hours unleashing a litany of accusations against Mayor Luigi Boria as council members and the public listened in stunned silence.

Carollo’s allegations included:

• That Boria had pressured some City Council members to vote on a questionable real estate project that previously had belonged to his children.
• That the mayor had accepted illegal contributions last year through a break in the rent on Doral office space used by his campaign.
• And that the mayor had asked Carollo to look into the past of Doral council members. "The mayor wanted me to investigate some of you,” Carollo said. “I have not investigated you."

At one point when the mayor tried to end Carollo’s long speech, the manager told the mayor: “What are you afraid of what I'm going to say?

Boria lashed back: “I think this is wrong, exaggerated and incorrect,” an exasperated Boria said during a brief break in Carollo’s soliloquy.

Carollo’s accusations were in response to an attack last week by Boria, who during another meeting tried unsuccessfully to terminate Carollo.

The mayor was not on the dais for much of Carollo’s tirade because the bulk of the manager’s attack was related to a Doral project called the Grand Floridian, which belonged in part to Boria’s children.

The Miami-Dade Ethics Commission has ruled that Boria, who had given $5 million to his children to buy part of the land, should not participate in discussions or votes related to the project.

The bad blood between Carollo and Boria escalated last week when police arrested Juan Carlos Tovar, a Venezuelan businessman and former partner of Boria’s children in the Grand Floridian project.

Tovar had accused Carollo of assaulting him during a council meeting in September, but security video at city hall did not support of Tovar’s version of events.

In his rebuke of the mayor, Carollo said Boria had pressured the-City Attorney Joe Jimenez to allow a vote on a proposed zoning change that benefited the Grand Floridian project days after his children sold their shares to Tovar.

Carollo said that Boria balked when an item related to Grand Floridian was removed from the council agenda Carollo said that Boria gave Jimenez his cellphone to speak to his son, Alexander.

"According to what the city attorney told me, the mayor’s son was insisting we leave the matter on the agenda,” Carollo said.

During a recess, Boria said he had never lobbied to vote on the project. Instead, the mayor acknowledge that he had asked the city attorney to explain to his son the decision to remove the issue from the agenda.

"But that does not mean I wanted to vote," Boria said.

In an earlier version of this story, Jimmy Morales was misidentified as the then-City Attorney instead of Joe Jimenez.

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