Florida mayor sued for attempting to pay ethics fine in coins

By Daniel Uria   |   Nov. 19, 2015 at 6:04 PM
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MIAMI, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez was sued by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust after attempting to pay a $4,000 fine entirely in coins.

In addition to the lawsuit, the commission also doubled Hernandez's fine on grounds that Hernandez intentionally broke the commission's regulations by paying his fine with 28 buckets filled with 360,000 pennies and nickels.

"On Nov. 6, the mayor sent 28 buckets of coins in an apparent attempt to pay the fine in disregard of the COE requirement that it be paid by check," the commission said. "His ploy was deemed commercially unreasonable and contemptuous by COE staff, and therefore, rejected."

In contrast to the commission's statement, Hernandez told Univision earlier in November that he was unaware of any county law that prohibited such payment.

Hernandez was quoted in the The Miami Herald when the payment was initially denied, challenging the commission to take legal action against him and stating that, whether check or coins, his payment was made in valid U.S. currency.

"If they wish [the commission] can go to court, but they will have to explain why a public organization does not accept this country's currency."

The original fine stemmed from an incident in which Hernandez lied about his collecting $180,000 of interest from a Ponzi schemer named Luis Felipe Perez.

The commission announced that a date had been set for Hernandez to appear in court in defense of his failure to comply with the payment of his fine.

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