MIAMI — On Thursday, a city commissioner in Miami was arrested on many counts of corruption, including bribery and money laundering, according to authorities.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Miami lawyer William Riley Jr. are both now detained in the Miami-Dade County Prison and are set to make their initial court appearance on Friday.
The defense teams for Riley and Diaz de la Portilla have both said they believe their clients will be found not guilty in court.
Diaz de la Portilla issued a statement, saying the claims were motivated by politics.
Diaz de la Portilla was quoted as saying, “When the dust settles, I am confident that these baseless charges will vanish into thin air.”
Investigators accuse Diaz de la Portilla and Riley of failing to report receiving over $15,000 in contributions for Diaz de la Portilla’s brother’s judicial candidacy in Miami-Dade County Court. A management services business paid $245,000 to a Delaware nonprofit in return for the right to build a sports complex in Miami, and Riley allegedly controlled the nonprofit’s bank account, according to investigators.
According to the probe, Diaz de la Portilla also oversaw two political organizations that he used for both his own benefit and to help his brother’s election campaign. One organization collected about $2.3 million in donations, while the other collected over $800,000.
Diaz de La Portilla, 58, and Riley, 48, have been charged with money laundering, three counts of illicit compensation or inducement for official behavior, bribery, and criminal conspiracy. Diaz de la Portilla is also charged with one count of illicit campaign donations and four counts of official misconduct for allegedly failing to report gifts on two separate occasions. Riley is also charged with lying about his lobbying expenses.
Both Riley and Diaz de la Portilla were being detained in lieu of bail, with Riley’s set at $46,000 and Diaz de la Portilla’s at $72,000.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office will be in charge of the prosecution.