North Miami - NMB

Former North Miami campaign manager receives probation in illegal expenditures case

About three months after his arrest for North Miami campaign violations, Nacivre Charles has been sentenced to a year of probation on the charges.

Charles, a campaign worker for ex-North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau, was charged in June with two counts of campaign violations for illegal expenditures. He pleaded no contest and the case was closed Tuesday.

In addition to serving a year of probation, Charles will pay a $50 fine and be required to take an ethics course. If he completes the course, the probation may be reduced to six months.

“Mr. Charles recognizes that he did not handle the campaign finances as precisely as he should have, but every dollar went to legitimate campaign purposes and campaign staff members,” said Ben Kuehne, who represented Charles in the case.

The initial charges stemmed from an investigation conducted by the public corruption unit task force of the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office. According to the arrest affidavit, Charles, 58, approved two withdrawals from Tondreau's 2013 mayoral campaign account for a total of $12,000, which greatly exceeded the state’s $500 limit.

The campaign’s bookkeeper, Ludnel St-Preux, backed up those allegations by testifying that he recognized Charles’ signature on various checks.

“To date the Lucie Tondreau campaign has yet to file an itemized accounting of the $12,000 cash that was drawn," a detective wrote in the June affidavit.

According to campaign finance documents from Tondreau’s campaign, she reported expenditures on June 3, 2013, to canvassers that totaled about $3,472, while expenses reported on June 4 totaled $10,000 for canvassers and poll workers. The two withdrawals came with $2,000 reportedly taken from the account on June 3 and $10,000 withdrawn on June 4.

“[Charles] will in the future makes sure that any campaign in which he is involved has an experienced accountant to handle campaign finances,” Kuehne said.

Tondreau was removed from office in May 2014. In March, she was convicted and sentenced to 65 months in federal prison for her role in an $11 million mortgage fraud scam.