River Cities

Judge tosses Miami Springs election case

Fernando ‘Fred’ Suco, left, and Zavier Garcia pose for a photo at the gazebo prior to the the April 7 city elections. Suco filed a lawsuit on April 17 after losing his mayoral bid to Garcia in hopes of unseating the winner.
Fernando ‘Fred’ Suco, left, and Zavier Garcia pose for a photo at the gazebo prior to the the April 7 city elections. Suco filed a lawsuit on April 17 after losing his mayoral bid to Garcia in hopes of unseating the winner. Miami Herald File

A contentious court case challenging the Miami Springs election process was thrown out Thursday.

Fernando “Fred” Suco filed the lawsuit on April 17 after losing his mayoral bid to incumbent Zavier Garcia in the April 7 election in hopes of unseating the winner.

“To whatever extent Garcia’s qualifications were at issue, the time to have challenged his qualifications to run for office was prior to the election, not after,” reads an order dismissing the case Thursday signed by Judge Antonio E. Marin. “The court can neither find nor infer any reasonable challenge to Garcia’s eligibility to serve as the mayor of Miami Springs.”

Suco sought “an order removing defendant Garcia from the mayor position,” according to the lawsuit filed April 17. Along with the city, the suit listed two additional defendants: Garcia in his capacity as the mayor and Erika Gonzalez-Santamaria as the city clerk and supervisor of elections of the city.

“I was surprised because the judge went further than we had asked in his dicta,” attorney Juan-Carlos “J.C.” Planas wrote Thursday night to the Herald.

However, the challenge may continue. The case was dismissed without prejudice, which means it can be refiled.

“Very strange,” attorney John Cunill wrote Thursday to the Herald. “We will be moving for a rehearing.”

  Comments