Former mayor's lawsuit dismissed by Circuit Court

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 0 Comments


A Miami-Dade Circuit Court dismissed a lawsuit last week filed against Miami Lakes by the town’s former mayor, Michael Pizzi, who’s seeking about $3 million for attorney fees for his 2014 criminal trial, according to a Town press release. 

A judge threw out the litigation on April 25, three years after Pizzi sued Miami Lakes. Following a series of bizarre depositions, Pizzi had to amend his lawsuit twice to resume pursuing legal action.

The latest ruling is the third time the case was dismissed but Town Attorney Raul Gastesi said Pizzi is expected to appeal the court’s decision in hopes of forcing the town to pay his lawyers’ court costs from his bribery and kickback corruption trial.

A jury acquitted Pizzi on all seven counts.

“We believe the Appellate Court will agree with both prior judges that Mr. Pizzi does not have a viable case against the town,” Gastesi said. “Unfortunately, Mr. Pizzi is causing the residents unnecessary inconvenience to incur further and needless legal fees.”

The town has reportedly spent more than $2 million in legal fees to fight Pizzi’s lawsuit.

Pizzi couldn’t be reached for comments by press time.

Pizzi’s team of high profile attorneys, Ed Shohat, Ben Kuehne, Michael Davis and Ralf Rodriguez, got him off the hook in 2014 after he was arrested on seven charges of public corruption.

Miami Lakes settled his civil lawsuit for attorney fees for about $400,000 when Pizzi sued Florida Governor Rick Scott for refusing to lift his suspension following his acquittal and the town for blocking his return to political office.

Miami Lakes became part of the lawsuit to argue its case and tried to sway the Florida Supreme Court to uphold Scott’s decision but to no avail.

Pizzi filed another lawsuit against the town in Circuit Court when then-mayor Wayne Slaton, who won a special election to replace him while awaiting trial, refused to give up his seat.

The court ruled in Pizzi’s favor and the Third Court of Appeals upheld the decision, which returned Pizzi to the mayoral seat.

Mayor Manny Cid said the lawsuit caused financial damage to Miami Lakes and hopes the latest court ruling finally puts an end to the legal drama.

“This lawsuit was hurting the institution and the brand of Miami Lakes,” he said. “I pray that this ruling brings our community much needed tranquility and happiness that our residents deserve.”     


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