Gov. Rick Scott has suspended North Miami Beach commissioner Frantz Pierre after his arrest on charges of bribery and money launderingOn top of that, the North Miami Beach Commissioner is also in legal trouble for an alleged attempt to steal thousands of public dollars which was intended for an after-school program that did not exist.
Pierre is charged with single counts of bribery, unlawful compensation, an organized scheme to defraud, and grand theft along with seven counts of money laundering. He was suspended from office by Florida Governor Rick Scott with an executive order that prohibits him from receiving a city paycheck or benefits.
"He sold his vote," states Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, via Miami Herald.
Investigators claim Pierre texted Dean Tyler, owner of Dean's Gold gentleman's club: "Mail $7-8K to Frantz Pierre at 821 NE 121 Street, NORTH MIAMI, FL 33162. BE FOREVER BLESSED"
" I just put a check for $7,000 in the mail," Tyler reportedly responded. "It will go out tomorrow."
"Thank you so much. That will not be forgotten," Pierre reportedly wrote.
Investigators have evidence that Tyler and Pierre also met at the strip club to discuss the deal. Tyler needed Pierre to change his mind about allowing him to get a license to keep the strip club open until 6 a.m.
"Pierre had voted against the 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Business Tax Receipt for Dean's Gold in 2013, but then he voted for the 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Business Tax Receipt in 2014, in 2015 and again in 2016," said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.
Pierre's attorney responded to the allegations quickly, saying his client was innocent and that he'd like to speak with Tyler to gain insight into the claims that Pierre solicited money for votes.
"Commissioner Pierre asserts the has done nothing wrong," Kuene said. "He's always acted in the public interest and we will investigate the allegations."
Investigators accuse Pierre of asking Tyler to donate $9,865 to Community Hope for Children and Families in Need, a non-for-profit owned by Jacquelin Alexis, who also owns Psychoed & Consultation Services. Alexis is accused of giving $5,250 to Pierre.
Alexis also solicited $5,000 from the city for an after-school tutoring program that investigators say doesn't exist. After the city issued $2,000 from Pierre's discretionary fund with the commission to Community Hope for Children and Families in Need, investigators say Alexis paid Pierre $2,905.
"This program was used, it was used, as a means of laundering additional money that was provided to commissioner Pierre," Fernandez-Rundle said.
Investigators say Pierre knew he was involved in bribery, unlawful compensation, and an organized scheme to defraud when he accepted four checks from Tyler and three checks from Alexis. Officers also arrested Alexis on one count of grand theft.
Miami-Dade county Judge Renata S. Francis cleared the way for Pierre to post 435,000 bond. His attorney first had to prove the money being used was clean.