Ex-City Official, Alleged Cronies Charged In Miami Beach City Hall Bid-Rigging Case

Oct 23, 2012

Miami-Dade prosecutors say Gus Lopez knew what others were bidding for city contracts in Miami Beach and he sold the information to help competitors submit lower and winning bids.

Suspects: From the tip, Lopez, Landrin and Lopez's wife, Maria Pineda. Investigators say she financed a Mercedes with corrupt money.
Credit Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

A former city procurement director, Lopez and business partner Pierre Landrin Jr., are accused of racketeering and unlawful compensation. Lopez' lawyer insists the charges are politically motivated.

As David Ovalle writes in the Miami Herald, investigators had been watching Lopez for most of the year.

Miami Beach detectives and public-corruption prosecutors began looking at Lopez in March, after he resigned amid possible misconduct surrounding the massive Miami Beach Convention Center district redevelopment project. Lopez was in charge of overseeing bids for the deal. 

The city became concerned that he was possibly rigging the process by assembling his own development team with businessman Walter Garcia. 

Detectives also uncovered an email, sent from Lopez’s personal account, that even outlined “Walters Full Compensation” as $6.73 million.