MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida – On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez, three weeks after he surrendered to authorities after being charged with two charges of criminal corruption.
Martinez, who represents District 11, was charged by prosecutors with illicit compensation and conspiracy to commit criminal remuneration.
Investigators assert that Martinez got compensation from a Miami-Dade business owner in exchange for drafting legislation that would have assisted the business in avoiding multiple code infractions.
According to court filings, the claims extend back to 2016, when Martinez was re-elected to the county commission after a four-year absence.
Investigators claimed in an arrest affidavit that Martinez “knowingly and willfully collected money from Jorge Negrin, the owner and operator of Extra Supermarket… in exchange for Martinez using his official position and office to assist with code enforcement fines and fees.”
The communications director for DeSantis stated, “These breaches are second- and third-degree felonies, and it is in the best interest of the residents of Miami-Dade County that Martinez be promptly suspended from his public office.” In the following weeks, the Governor will nominate a commissioner to fill the District 11 seat.
Martinez, a former Miami-Dade police officer, has denied any misconduct, stating that the claims are motivated by politics.
Martinez made the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:
Although the Governor’s decision is a disappointment, the Commissioner and his supporters were expecting this development and recognize that this is a part of the process when even completely unfounded charges are brought against public officials.
Commissioner Martinez, his legal team and supporters will focus on clearing his name and fighting these baseless allegations, arising from his work as a consultant when he was a private citizen and not an elected official.
The Commissioner offers his support to whomever the Governor decides to appoint to the Miami-Dade County District 11 seat. The most important issue continues to be providing services and protecting the well-being of the residents of the District 11 and of our entire community.
Commissioner Martinez looks forward to being completely vindicated and cleared of any wrongdoing. He has devoted his entire adult life to serving the best interests of the public and he is humbled by the outpouring of support and confidence from the people of District 11 and throughout Miami-Dade County.
Statement on behalf Commissioner Joe Martinez