Miami Beach Commissioner resigns ahead of pleading no contest to criminal charge

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco has officially resigned ahead of pleading no contest to a criminal charge.

Grieco left a Miami-Dade courtroom, Tuesday, no longer a commissioner and under probation for a year.

“Today represents proof of the complexities of Florida’s campaign finance laws,” said Ben Kuehne, Grieco’s attorney.

Grieco pleaded no contest to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of accepting a campaign contribution in the name of someone else. “The only way he could accept that was to go through someone who could get it, and that was the Realtor,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

“He never intended to have any unauthorized contributions made to a political committee, and all contributions have been returned,” Kuehne said.

Kuehne went on to say this went on because two friends of Grieco failed to follow the law, but he is the one who must deal with the fallout. Grieco will also have to pay for the cost of the investigation: around $6,000.

He has since resigned from his position as a Miami Beach commissioner. When asked if he had anything to say to the voters, his response was, “Love every one of you.”

According to the Clerk’s Office, Grieco submitted his resignation letter via e-mail shortly after 8 a.m., Tuesday.

The letter read, “Effective immediately, I tender my resignation as Group 2 Commissioner for the remaining two weeks of my term. Serving our Great City of Miami Beach has been my greatest honor. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. When I began my service as Miami Beach Commissioner in 2013, my paramount goal was to leave Miami Beach in a better condition than when I started. I am confident I have done that, and more. I have always done my best. I hope you will agree, and will find the time to work with me in my private life, as I continue to find creative ways to make Miami Beach the BEST City in the Sunshine State and beyond.”

While Grieco is on probation, he is not allowed to run for public office. “To the residents of Miami Beach, even the ones who don’t like me, I was always the one that you could call,” said Grieco. “That’s gonna change because I’m in the private sector. I encourage people to, if you need help, call me just like you were calling me yesterday.”

However, Kuehne said, his client will continue to work and help the people of Miami Beach.

“He will continue to make Miami Beach a better place, and he will assure his many supporters who continue today that he will do better,” Kuehne said.

Grieco later spoke to 7News, Tuesday afternoon. “There’s been no admission of guilt. It’s something that we’re putting in the rear view,” Grieco said. “I definitely could have made some better decisions, but at the same time, it’s a campaign finance infraction, and we’re looking past it.”

If the former commissioner completes the conditions of his probation, including a class on campaign ethics, he could see his sentence reduced from a year to six months.

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