Miami-Dade Ethics Commission dismisses Dan Gelber’s complaints
A state-run corruption watchdog is accepting ethics complaints against Miami Beach’s top elected official.
The Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust Commission on Wednesday dismissed two identical complaints against Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, concluding that the allegations were “not legally sufficient,” according to a press release.
Gelber could not immediately be reached for comment. In a previous statement, the mayor said the allegations were unfounded.
Last month then-mayoral candidate Ronnie Eith and another unnamed town resident filed separate complaints making similar allegations against Gelber in a controversial September 13 Zoom appeal in which the mayor participated. Gelber, Miami Beach City Manager Alina Hudak and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine spoke to a group including local developers about submitting plans to redevelop Ocean Drive.
In an almost 10-minute clip of the call that was leaked to the media, Levine is heard telling the group that they need to form a political action committee that would raise money for city commissioners who support Gelber’s agenda. for the overhaul of Ocean Drive, a street plagued by crime and chaos in recent years.
Gelber told the group he would be prepared to support voting measures to increase height and density requirements in the Art Deco entertainment district, “although it’s not particularly popular,” according to the audio.
In his ethics complaint, Eith claimed that Gelber violated a city ordinance that prohibits elected officials from directly or indirectly collecting campaign contributions provided by developers whose cases are pending before the city. Although Gelber did not discuss political donations, his very presence was enough to break city law, Eith claimed.
According to the complaint, the participants included Jackie Soffer, CEO of Turnberry Associates, Jonathan Fryd, president of Fryd Properties, Michael Comras, president and CEO of Comras company, Philip Goldfarb, president and COO of Fontainebleau, Ariel Nakash, vice president of Nakash Holdings, and developers Michael Shvo and Robert Finvarb.
Gelber was easily re-elected on November 2.