Following Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez’s arrest on corruption-related charges last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that he will soon make a decision about Martinez’ replacement.
DeSantis said at a press conference in Miami on Wednesday that Martinez, who was detained on suspicion of receiving improper money and conspiring to get such compensation, will soon face a suspension.
“There will obviously be a new commissioner when you have the issue like that, and we realize that,” DeSantis added.
Martinez may be suspended and a successor may be named by DeSantis.
DeSantis told reporters, “So many people have suggested fresh candidates for that; I have not had an opportunity to sort of informed on all the prospective prospects for that. “There’s a debate about whether the candidate must reside in that district. I believe they definitely should, but other people argue that it’s not necessary for successful government.”
We’re going to discuss all of those concerns; I’ll be briefed on them this week; and we’ll probably come to a conclusion very soon, said DeSantis.
The accusations originate from money Martinez reportedly collected in return for his assisting a supermarket owner and property owner who were experiencing problems with cargo storage containers, according to an arrest warrant.
The warrant said that the owners had been penalized tens of thousands of dollars for breaking a county rule that prohibited cargo storage containers on properties less than 10 acres.
According to the warrant, Martinez accepted three payments totaling $5,000 from the owner of the supermarket in exchange for his assistance in paying the fees and fines and for his assistance in creating legislation that would have amended the ordinance to permit one storage container on properties smaller than 10 acres.
Martinez’s attorneys claim that the accusations are politically motivated since Martinez is considering running for sheriff of Miami-Dade County.
According to a statement from his lawyers, “Commissioner Martinez makes clear that he is innocent of any misconduct and intends to vigorously strive to vindicate his reputation.”
The commission’s previous chairman twice previously was 64-year-old Martinez. He won the District 11 seat for the first time in 2000, declined to seek for reelection in 2012, and then won it back in 2016.
Martinez ran as a Republican for Congress in 2014 despite the Miami-Dade commission seat being nonpartisan.