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Outcry over Mexican first lady’s Key Biscayne condo leads to calls for investigation

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

A luxury condo in Key Biscayne is roiling the top levels of Mexican politics.

Political and civic leaders in Mexico are calling for an investigation into an unusual arrangement that saw a company managed by a Miami-based businessman pay nearly $30,000 in property taxes for a Key Biscayne condo owned by first lady Angélica Rivera.

Ricardo Pierdant, who runs popular bike-sharing program Citi Bike Miami, also allowed Rivera to use a $2 million condo he owned in the same building at Ocean Club, an exclusive gated community. Pierdant may be considering a bid to run Mexico’s ports, according to the Guardian, which broke the story. The office of President Enrique Peña Nieto has denied that Pierdant is bidding for contracts and said no conflict-of-interest rules were broken. The Guardian later retracted its allegation of a conflict of interest.

$29,703.82Property taxes Ricardo Pierdant paid on condo owned by Mexico’s first lady

But opposition leaders and anti-corruption activists believe an investigation is needed, especially because of a similar controversy over a mansion in Mexico City involving the first lady.

“It reignites the discussion over the links that the president and his wife have with businessmen, particularly the type of relation that they could have with someone who pays your property taxes,” Eduardo Bohórquez, who runs the Mexico chapter of advocacy group Transparency International, told The Wall Street Journal.

Pierdant and Citi Bike Miami have not responded to phone calls and emails from the Miami Herald.

This story has been updated to reflect the Guardian's retraction of its original report.

Nicholas Nehamas: 305-376-3745, @NickNehamas

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