Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez invokes dalliance with Trump as proof of integrity as Beckham scandal looms

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez meets with Donald Trump who tried to take over management of the county’s Crandon Park golf course with help from the Mayor’s lobbyist son “CJ” Gimenez.

Miami-Dade’s lame-duck county Mayor believes that lobbying is a “craft” his sons should be free to ply on behalf of businesses with pending matters before the government he leads as a strong executive.

It was the Miami Herald’s Fabiola Santiago who struck a nerve by pointing out that Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s son Carlos “CJ” Gimenez Jr. is a registered lobbyist for the MLS group led by Jorge Mas and David Beckham.

Ironically, Mayor Gimenez wrote a lady-doth-too-much-protest letter to the Miami Herald invoking his dealings with the most corrupt man in America, Donald Trump, which also involved unseemly political machinations by his son, as a twisted defense of his indefensible conflicting interests. He wrote:

C.J. represents clients before several cities and other counties, but not in Miami-Dade. There was one occasion in 2015 when I became aware of an unsolicited proposal from the Trump organization to run a golf course at Key Biscayne, and since C.J. at the time represented Trump before some municipalities, I recused myself.

If the Mayor has to write “My integrity is sacrosanct,” then obviously, it is not.

Gimenez only recused himself from business with Trump after the Miami Herald began digging, and after a personal meeting (pictured above), whom his son represented as a municipal lobbyist.

Not coincidentally, CJ joined a heavily Trump-aligned lobbying group early last year with the widely disdained President’s former campaign manager, before later quitting, only because the firm signed Venezuela’s national oil company as a client.

MLS pays the Mayor’s son to steal public parks for private use

But Mayor Gimenez is not recusing himself from the MLS group’s new request to take over part of a county park to be used in their for-profit operations.

CJ lobbied the City of Miami to hand over its only public golf course to the MLS group for a song earlier this year.

But his father believes that it’s ethical for him to keep working on MLS related business because CJ hasn’t registered to lobby with Miami-Dade County.

That’s wrong.

Nobody can stop the MLS group’s lobbyist from accessing the Mayor because of their familial relationship.

Even if CJ doesn’t speak to his father about the transaction, Mayor Gimenez knows that the MLS is his son’s clients and that his family will benefit if the county accommodates their second request to take over a public park in less than a year.

It’s an obvious conflict of interest, facial and apparent.

Mayor Gimenez with soccer superstar David Beckham and MLS commissioner Don Garber after one of many splashy announcements about their plans to bring minor league soccer — despite their monicker — to Miami.

Mayor Gimenez’s exacerbates his ethical failings by involving himself further in the MLS group, who has a storied history of illegal lobbying.

It’s illegal for a lobbyist to hold meetings with public officials before registering with the county, as well as for those officials to meet with unregistered lobbyists

Yet, Gimenez met with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Congresswoman-elect Donna Shalala in her former role as the University of Miami President anyways. Neither of those luminaries registered to lobby him, seeking a public stadium for their respective sports ventures in 2015.

This November, I reported exclusively that the MLS group got hit with a serious public ethics complaint for illegally lobbying the City of Miami — which could expand to include the Mayor’s son — in their bid to obtain a stadium and billion-dollar commercial real estate project on public land, with a vastly below market rent.

One day after the election, the Miami Herald confirmed that the City of Miami suspended all contacts with the soccer team pending the completion of an ethics investigation into their illegal lobbying.

Mayor Gimenez cannot cure his ethical conflicts by simply declaring everything is fine in a letter to the editor and moving on.

The Miami MLS group thrives on illegal lobbying, and Miami-Dade’s Mayor is thrusting himself into the heart of their unethical business practices by continuing to do business with Jorge Mas, David Beckham, and their soccer team.

Mayor Gimenez should recuse immediately.

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Grant Stern

Grant Stern

Miami based columnist and radio broadcaster, and professional mortgage broker.