Miami Mayor Cuts Short Local 10 Interview Amidst Unsettling Business Ties Questions

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez most likely wanted his “State of the City” address to be the top story Tuesday morning.

However, a gloomy Miami Herald report released hours earlier overshadowed his uplifting message, which boasted a “story of sustained achievement”: According to the publication, Suarez lobbied for a no-bid city contract that would benefit a partner of one of his private enterprises.

It’s the latest in a string of newspaper investigations questioning how the mayor’s connections to corporations and foreign governments have intersected with his official obligations. The mayor has continued to claim he did nothing wrong, although he has yet to present receipts.

Following the speech, the mayor’s movements were monitored, safeguarded, and directed. He’d take questions from one reporter at a time behind closed doors, including Glenna Milberg of Local 10.

“The conclusion is: I didn’t do anything to benefit anyone and I’ve said that many many many times and I’m going to continue to say that,” Suarez was quoted as saying by Milberg.

The questions began after Suarez’s failed presidential campaign, during which he was required to disclose his sources of income for the first time.

His own wealth has increased as a result of a number of enterprises hiring or contracting with him. Miami public records show that some of those same entities were demanding official favors for their enterprises, and emails suggest that the mayor assisted.

“Do you think those companies would have you on the payroll if you were not in a position of power in the city of Miami?” Milberg questioned Suarez.

Then he said, “Your question already has a flawed premise, that I’m working for 12 companies.”

The mayor stated that Milberg and others did not do their study and jumped to the wrong conclusions. To accommodate that viewpoint, she rephrased the query.

As she began to ask the question, Suarez replied tersely: “Thank you. “I’m finished.”

He rushed out of the room as Milberg continued to question him about the latest report.

“One company that’s hired you, do you think they might have, if you were not the mayor —,” she said.

“I’m finished.” “I’m finished,” the mayor repeated.

“Mayor, can you just answer that one question?” Milberg asked.

“I’m done,” he said as he went out the door.

There would be no more questions, including those for the Miami Herald reporters who had waited their turn.

Suarez’s business ties have brought the second-term mayor under scrutiny; the Herald has reported that the FBI is investigating Suarez’s ties to a local developer.

He is not the only city official currently under legal or ethical inquiry — or both — and mentioned this in his State of the City speech, adding that he and the commission both support establishing independent oversight for the city.

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