Miami Lakes residents have chosen a new mayor, ousting incumbent Michael Pizzi — who had been acquitted in a bribery case in 2014 but had to sue to be reinstated — by a margin of more than three-to-one.
Voters instead selected Councilman Manny Cid, 33, giving him 77 percent of the vote to Pizzi’s 23 percent, according to unofficial results of Tuesday’s runoff election.
Pizzi, 53, was competing for his third term as mayor after an indictment in 2013 caused his removal from office. He was acquitted of all charges in 2014 and then sued for his eventual reinstatement to the mayoral seat in 2015.
Pizzi who was first elected mayor in 2008 after serving as a town councilman, said he accepts the results and believes that Cid will be an outstanding mayor. “I’m proud that I’m leaving the town in great shape for the new administration,” Pizzi said.
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Cid focused his campaign on talking about the future of Miami Lakes and setting an example for young Miami Lakes residents by bringing new blood to the mayoral seat.
Pizzi placed himself and the town in the spotlight after his indictment on charges of accepting more than $6,000 in illegal money and campaign funds during an undercover FBI investigation.
The mayor and the town are also in the middle of a lawsuit over an additional $2.25 million owed to Pizzi’s legal team. Pizzi decided to delay action on the suit for six months and said he hopes to use some of the town’s $5 million insurance policy to take care of the costs.
His indictment and reinstatement were the major focus of attack ads that Pizzi called “political pornography.” The mailers came from a Jensen Beach-based political action committee, Leadership for Florida’s Future.
Miami Herald reporter Jay Weaver contributed to this story.