Community leaders call for Commissioner Carollo’s removal, citing abuse of power

MIAMI (WSVN) - Community leaders from past and present came together in an effort to have City of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo removed from office.

The outcry comes after leaders said he expressed unprofessional behavior, intimidation tactics and abuse of power.

“The PAC has been created to recall Joe Carollo, so our movement begins today,” a volunteer said.

Carollo’s district consists of Little Havana, The Roads, Shenandoah and a part of Brickell. Organizers said those voters have been neglected.

“There are a lot of people that are scared,” volunteer Eleazar Melendez said. “There are people that say, ‘I support you, and I’ll vote for this, but I don’t want to put my name down, so that he can come and harass me with code enforcement.”

The grassroots effort from District 3 specifically talked about a January commission meeting when Carollo pushed a motion forward to adjourn without the dais taking care of several agenda items.

His motion was successful following a disagreement over how to proceed with city business.

Organizers must get 15% of the voters in Carollo’s district to sign off on the recall, so it can proceed to an election.

“What started as a small group of concerned residents and citizens has grown to a movement of people that have had enough of Joe Carollo, have had enough of the intimidation of residents and business owners, have had enough of the abuse of power,” former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Juan Cuba said.

Joe Arriola, who is funding the recall effort, said during the press conference, “Could you imagine if you had a business that you wanted to move to the City of Miami and you see the scandals and this joke every week? Would you bring your business here?”

7News cameras captured volunteers wearing “Recall Joe 2020” shirts near City Hall.

“When this year started, and you saw a circus at City Hall, and you saw meetings that didn’t go forward, businesses that had issues before the city, non-profits that had grants that needed to be approved — and it stopped because these guys, and it’s particularly Commissioner Carollo, more focused on abusing the power than serving the people, that’s a wake up call to all of us,” Melendez said. “We need to go out there, lace up our boots, take out our clipboards and get it done.”

City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, who represents District 2, mentioned that the city’s politics have sometimes included controversy.

“Miami politics is no stranger to drama,” he said. “That’s been our history, unfortunately, but really, throughout that, the city is very resilient, and we get a lot of good things done.”

In response, Carollo focused on Rene Pedrosa’s role in the recall effort.

Pedrosa, Mayor Francis Suarez’s former aide and spokesperson, was arrested last week for allegedly groping and sending an explicit picture to a teenager.

Carollo said in a statement that read in part, “Now this small group holds a press conference with a fairy tale of a recall to divert attention from the gravity of the crimes committed against a minor in the mayor’s conference room.”

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez declined to comment on the recall effort.

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