FBI Arrests Mayors Of Miami Lakes, Sweetwater On Bribery Charges

Aug 6, 2013

City of Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroaño at a press conference at Hialeah City Hall on Wednesday, January 30, 2013.
Credit Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

FBI agents Tuesday arrested the mayors of Miami Lakes and Sweetwater on bribery-related charges.

Agents arrested Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel “Manny” Marono at their City Hall offices.

Pizzi and Maroño are expected to have their first appearances in Miami federal court Tuesday afternoon.

Miami Lakes Vice Mayor Ceasar Mestre (left) administers the oath of office to Mayor Michael Pizzi during a swearing in ceremony at Royal Oaks Community Center in Miami Lakes on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012.
Credit Daniel Bock / For the Miami Herald

Pizzi, who is serving his second term as mayor, has been in the public eye for years. He is an attorney who once worked for a high-profile criminal defense law firm in Miami and served as a Miami Lakes councilman before running successfully for town mayor in 2008. He was reelected last year.

In 2012, Pizzi easily defeated challenger Wayne Slaton, who had served as Miami Lakes’ first mayor after its incorporation in 2000. The Pizzi-Slaton mayoral showdown was particularly nasty for Miami Lakes, a normally below-the-radar community that was originally home to the Graham family’s dairy farm.

Previously, Pizzi drew attention to himself by helping lead the effort to recall a political nemesis, Miami-Dade Commissioner Natacha Seijas, in 2011. She was voted out of office that year along with County Mayor Carlos Alvarez in a special recall election.

Marono, a member of the Sweetwater City Commission since 1995, was elected as mayor in 2003.