WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - City of Miami Commissioner Alejandro “Alex” Diaz de la Portilla and attorney William W. Riley Jr. have bonded out of jail hours after they were arrested on a range of charges, including money laundering, bribery, unlawful compensation and criminal conspiracy.
Moments after he walked out of Turner Guilford Knight Detention Center in West Miami-Dade, Thursday night, Diaz de la Portilla spoke at length with reporters.
“This is a work of fiction, and I’ll repeat it again: this is a work of fiction by a Democrat state attorney targeting a Republican city commissioner. Period,” he said.
The commissioner, 58, had plenty to say, especially about who will prosecute this case: the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
“The same thing that’s happening to President Trump at the national level, with four different false prosecutions, is happening to me in Miami at the local level,” he said.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said in addition to the money laundering and bribery charges, Diaz de la Portilla is also facing four counts of official misconduct, one count of exceeding legal campaign contribution limits, and two counts of failing to report a gift. Riley, 48, has additionally been charged with failing to disclose lobbyist expenses.
The commissioner attended Thursday’s meeting at Miami City Hall with some lighthearted talk about lunch.
“We still have lunch at my office if you want to come. They’re burgers,” he told commissioners.
Little did he know his afternoon would take a sharp turn with an arrest.
The FDLE investigation revealed that Diaz de la Portilla and Riley had accepted more than $15,000 in payments for the Miami-Dade County Court judicial campaign of the commissioner’s brother, failing to report them as required by Florida Statutes, Chapter 106.
According to FDLE, Riley allegedly controlled a bank account under the name of a Delaware-based corporation, using it to launder approximately $245,000 in concealed political contributions. These contributions were allegedly made by a management services company in exchange for permission to construct a sports complex in Miami.
According to the Miami
Furthermore, the investigation unveiled that Diaz de la Portilla operated and controlled two political committees, initially intended to support his brother’s campaign but later found to be used for personal expenditures. Records revealed that one committee reported total donations of approximately $2.3 million, while the other reported over $800,000 in donations.
Jose Arrojo, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, released a statement that reads, “It is always sad and regrettable when an elected official is criminally charged with abusing the public’s trust, but the community should find some solace in the fact that today’s arrest will shine a bright light on the alleged criminal conduct.”
Diaz de la Portilla and Riley were taken into custody in Miami and were taken to TGK. They are scheduled to appear in bond court on Friday.
Diaz de la Portilla’s bond was set at $72,000, while Riley was held on a $46,000 bond. They both bonded out Thursday night.
“There’s no truth to any of this. The people in my district know me as a state senator, a state representative and a commissioner, and they trust me,” said Diaz de la Portilla after he bonded out. “They know I’m honest, I’m direct, and I say the truth. There’s no truth whatsoever to any of these allegations.”
Late Thursday afternoon, Diaz de la Portilla issued a statement. It reads, “I have not done anything wrong. Clearly this action has been timed and executed for shock and awe purposes, to create the maximum damage to my political campaign and family. This is nothing more than prosecutorial abuse of our court system, abuse of process, and the unfortunate weaponization of law enforcement targeting conservative Republicans for political purposes and career advancement.
“When the smoke clears, I am confident that these spurious charges will evaporate into thin air. Any further comment will be through my attorney.”
Diaz de la Portilla’s attorney, Benedict P. Kuehne, also issued a statement. It reads, “The Commissioner is innocent of all charges. We look forward to full vindication in a court of law.”
This investigation was assigned to the Broward State Attorney’s Office to avoid any possible conflict of interest.
Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor issued a statement in a news release. It reads, “I thank and commend the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their hard work and dedication in investigating this case with our prosecutors. The Broward State Attorney’s Office will pursue justice in this matter.”
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