Two Florida mayors arrested for alleged bribery

MIAMI, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Mayors in two small Florida towns have been arrested on bribery charges related to government contracts, law enforcement officials said.

Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel "Manny" Marono, were each taken into custody by FBI agents while at their respective offices.


Two lobbyists were also arrested. Their identities had not been released.

Pizzi, a prominent defense attorney who was on the Miami Lakes City Council before successfully running for mayor in 2008, was re-elected last year. His re-election battle against Wayne Slaton was particularly nasty, though Pizzi won easily, The Miami Herald reported.

Marono is also a prominent politician despite representing a small town. Marono has ties to Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott and helped serve on Scott's transition team.

In addition to serving as Sweetwater's mayor, Marono and a childhood friend have opened a consulting and lobbying firm that touts Marono's closeness with Scott, the Herald said.

Marono has served on the Sweetwater city commission since 1995 and has been mayor since 2003.

Scott called the news "disappointing." He is required by Florida law to suspend both men from duty while the investigation and court cases run their course.


"This is disappointing. ... While we wait to see the evidence, the fact remains that elected officials must be held to the highest standard," Scott said in a statement.

It was unclear what links the four arrests together. Both men were scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami Tuesday.

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