Miami Beach

Ethics commission dismisses Arriola complaint against Miami Beach opponent Weithorn

Ricky Arriola, left, and Mark Weithorn, right, are Miami Beach Group 5 commission candidates.
Ricky Arriola, left, and Mark Weithorn, right, are Miami Beach Group 5 commission candidates.

Miami-Dade’s ethics commission has dismissed a complaint stemming from political ads where one Miami Beach commission candidate released an arrest report that showed his opponent’s Social Security number.

Ricky Arriola accused Group 5 opponent Mark Weithorn of violating campaign ethics laws when Weithorn ran a TV ad that displayed an arrest report stemming from a 2009 encounter Arriola had with a security guard at his South Beach apartment.

Arriola was accused of hitting the guard after he was asked to turn down his music. The ad does not mention that the battery charge was later dropped, which Arriola’s camp maintains misleads voters.

The arrest report, aired on TV and published in both email and paper mail ads, included Arriola’s Social Security number in plain view. This prompted a civil lawsuit and emergency injunction that stopped Weithorn and a political action committee called Miami Beach Advisory Council from disseminating the ads with the non-redacted arrest report.

On Monday, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Gerald Kogan found no probable cause that Weithorn had knowingly published false information. Kogan presided over the expedited hearing at the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. The commission held the special hearing Monday to address the matter before Tuesday’s election.

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