Former Miami Seashore developing officers accepts plea deal

Previous Miami Seaside making formal Mariano Fernández will not be going to jail for illegally…

Previous Miami Seaside making formal Mariano Fernández will not be going to jail for illegally accepting absolutely free hotel stays and gifts from a Spanish hotel corporation.

In a plea deal struck with Miami-Dade prosecutors previously this week, Fernández approved two a long time of home arrest, to be followed by two many years of probation. He also been given a withhold of adjudication, which means he won’t technically have a felony on his document. He acknowledged the plea deal on a cost of illegal compensation.

Fernández, 67, experienced been awaiting demo considering the fact that his arrest in February 2018.

Prosecutors said Fernández blatantly traded his impact and do the job for luxurious rooms in South Beach front, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The stays came from RIU Resorts & Resorts, which owns a lot more than 100 accommodations in 19 nations, which includes a vacation resort on South Beach that required developing permits from Fernández’s office.

His protection legal professional, Jeffrey Weiner, said the safety of properties in Miami Seaside were hardly ever compromised and that Fernández did not realize that his friendship with RIU executives crossed the line.

“It was poor judgment on his aspect, looking back again, and he is aware of it,” Weiner said.

As the leading constructing formal at City Corridor, Fernández had important electricity about inspections and allowing for building and renovation initiatives in the vacation resort city — very important features that ascertain the timeline for completion of huge projects. Among October 2013 and June 2016, RIU wanted permits for a main renovation to its South Beach residence.

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Mariano Fernandez, heart, surrendered to the Miami-Dade condition attorney’s office Tuesday on a charge of receiving illegal payment though serving as Miami Beach’s building formal. Miami Herald file picture

Prosecutors reported Fernández routinely solicited free and comped rooms for himself and his employees, even encouraging to arrange “team-building” section retreats at deeply discounted fees. In all, at least 5 of Fernández’s workers got outright no cost stays via Fernández, and dozens additional got discounted rates, amounting to more than 200 evenings.

A person of these “team-building” trips was in September 2015 to the RIU Palace Bavaro All-Inclusive Vacation resort in Punta Cana. There, Fernández and his wife obtained a no cost suite — and a birthday bottle of Johnny Walker Black Scotch in their place, in addition a VIP night time at the Coco-Bongo nightclub.

City constructing departments throughout South Florida have been in the news because the June 24 collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside. The town’s former building official, Ross Prieto, who instructed rental people the tower was in excellent shape despite a 2018 report detailing structural harm, utilized to function for the metropolis of Miami Beach front.

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(L) Alejandro Sanchez Del Arco, regional supervisor for the Caribbean for RIU and Luis Riu Guell, Jr. , CEO and operator of the RIU Resort & Vacation resort chain surrendered in Miami courtroom in Choose Jorge Cueto’s courtroom Monday early morning, Feb. 12, 2018 to face allegations they gave absolutely free hotel stays to a Miami Beach front city formal in trade for assist with building permits. The two RIU executives were being handcuffed in courtroom and led absent to be booked into jail where they both could submit bond. Emily Michot [email protected]

Fernandez was hired at Miami Beach front in 2013, and was fired soon ahead of his arrest.

The Miami-Dade Condition Attorney’s Business office also billed Luis Riu Guell Jr., RIU’s owner, as perfectly as the organization by itself, together with RIU’s regional vice president, Alejandro Sanchez del Arco.

In February, the situation was dismissed in opposition to Guell, though the organization itself was place on probation and had to pay back just about $500,000 in fines and donations, and establish a program aimed at making sure compliance for workforce in long run developing issues. Sanchez del Arco also acquired two decades of probation and experienced to expend 30 days under household arrest.

The community corruption circumstance also indirectly ensnared Fernandez’s former wife, Miami-Dade County Judge Maria Fernández.

In 2019, the Florida Supreme Court docket requested her suspended for the reason that she failed to report the no cost resort stays though the two were being married. She also agreed to fork out a $5,000 great and settle for a general public reprimand.

David Ovalle covers crime and courts in Miami. A indigenous of San Diego, he graduated from the College of Southern California and joined the Herald in 2002 as a athletics reporter.