Less than a week before the city’s election, a North Miami Beach City Council member has been accused of making threats against a city code enforcement officer after she attempted to place a notice on his property Thursday afternoon.
According to emails from the employee to the code compliance director and a department supervisor, Councilman Frantz Pierre, who is up for reelection on May 5, allegedly told the officer to remove the notification and to give him preferential treatment.
“When you see this house ignore it ... if you want to keep your job,” the email quoted Pierre in its description of the alleged incident.
Officer Tasheema Lewis said in the email that Pierre also threatened to fire the city manager and the code compliance director, and that he then proceeded to remove her posted notification.
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On Friday afternoon, city leaders said at a press conference that they plan to investigate the incident and referred it to the State Attorney’s Office, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and the state Commission on Ethics.
Deputy City Manager Mac Serda thanked Lewis for letting staff know about the incident and said he spoke with Pierre, but he did not give much detail about their conversation.
“I wanted to make sure that all the council members knew this was taking place and I contacted him as well just to make sure he knew we were bringing this forward to the outside agencies,” Serda said.
Pierre could not immediately be reached for comment and a call to his cellphone went to a full inbox.
According to Lewis, she went to Pierre’s home at about 1:10 p.m. Thursday to give notice that the councilman had violated the city’s code related to derelict property and fence maintenance. She attempted to speak with Pierre first, but got no response. It wasn’t until she began to post the notice, the email said, that Pierre and his wife came out and told her to move on.
Pierre, who has served on the council since 2007, faces one opponent in his reelection bid — financial coach Ketley Joachim. Pierre has faced some criticism in the past, most notably for using $777 in city funds to travel to Haiti in 2014 for a leadership conference.
After an investigation, the county ethics commission found that the trip was not beneficial to the city. The city has since passed a resolution restricting city-paid travel expenses.
Councilman Anthony DeFillipo said he wanted to wait and see what the outside investigations reveal, but the incident didn’t surprise him.
“If these allegations are correct, then the councilman has some explaining to do,” DeFillipo said.