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Guardian retracts story alleging conflict of interest between Citi Bike Miami founder and Mexican first lady

In this 2014 file photo, President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto and first lady Angélica Rivera arrive at Brisbane Airport ahead of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.
In this 2014 file photo, President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto and first lady Angélica Rivera arrive at Brisbane Airport ahead of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. AP

British newspaper the Guardian has retracted a story alleging a potential conflict of interest between Mexican first lady Angélica Rivera and Citi Bike Miami founder Ricardo Pierdant.

The controversy stemmed from a Key Biscayne condo owned by Rivera.

In 2014, a company managed by Pierdant paid nearly $30,000 in property taxes on Rivera’s condo, according to Miami-Dade County tax records. The Miami Herald confirmed and reported on that payment. (Rivera previously and subsequently paid the taxes through her own company.)

But the Guardian’s Aug. 9 story also said that Pierdant, who owns businesses in Mexico, was considering a bid to run Mexico’s ports, presenting a conflict of interest. That part of the story was not true, according to a statement posted online by the Guardian last week.

In an editor’s note, the Guardian wrote “while it is not disputed that, in 2014, Mr Pierdant paid the 2013 Property Tax due on an apartment owned by Mrs Rivera, nor that he and [President Enrique Peña Nieto] are long time personal friends, we accept that none of Mr Pierdant’s companies have obtained any contracts with the Mexican government nor have they participated in any such contracting processes.”

The newspaper removed the story from its website and apologized to Pierdant.

Pierdant has not returned messages seeking comment from the Herald, which first contacted him in August and has continued to request interviews asking why he paid property taxes for Rivera.

Nicholas Nehamas: 305-376-3745, @NickNehamas

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