A new controversy among Doral officials became public on Monday after City Council member Ana María Rodríguez criticized Mayor Luigi Boria, for excluding her from the organizing committee of the Miss USA beauty pageant in a letter sent to pageant founder and real estate mogul Donald Trump.
In the letter, Boria tells Trump of the efforts the city has made to host the beauty pageant and that an organizing committee chaired by the mayor was unanimously approved by the council.
The letter adds that vice mayor Christi Fraga will head a community subcommittee and Sandra Ruiz will lead an organization subcommittee. However, the letter leaves out Rodríguez, who is in charge of the county subcommittee with the approval of the Doral council.
“I would like to know if the way in which I have been left out is personal or political,” Rodríguez said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. The organization chart approved by all council members is very different.”
Boria said that Rodríguez’s omission from the letter sent to Trump was a mistake that would be corrected as soon as possible.
“This was an unintentional error,” Boria said. “I have apologized to council member Rodríguez for it.”
The creation of the organizing committee had prompted a controversy the previous week, after council member Bettina Rodríguez-Aguilera was also excluded from the group. The reason Boria gave was that he wanted to “avoid politicizing the event.”
At an Aug. 19 council session, council member Sandra Ruiz expressed her concern over the possible conflict of interest if Rodríguez-Aguilera were included in the organizing committee while receiving campaign contributions from Trump.
Rodríguez-Aguilera is running for re-election on Nov. 4, and will face former council member Pete Cabrera, who will officially launch his candidacy on Wednesday night.
After being informed of the error and apology by Mayor Boria, council member Rodríguez accepted it with skepticism, insisting that “there could hardly be an error” in the organization of an event known for its economic impact on host cities.
“I doubt that this is just a simple mistake,” Rodríguez said. “To leave out a council member from the organizing committee of such an important event is not due to a mistake. ... I believe this was intentional, though I don’t understand the purpose of it.”