The Town of Miami Lakes has created a page on its website dedicated to providing the public an easy way to access factual information on the mayoral charter issue.
This information includes the Town Charter and legal documents on the three lawsuits: the Federal Case, United States of America vs Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. and Richard F. Candia; The Florida Supreme Court Case, Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. vs Rick Scott, Governor; and the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Case, Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. vs The Town of Miami Lakes.
Recent events have raised questions over the procedures for filling the office of the mayor. Town officials want to make as much information as possible available to the public. Full transparency remains a priority.
The issues raised are important questions involving the Town Charter, and for the sake of our residents and voters, these questions need to be addressed.
On April 29, 2015 at noon, Michael A. Pizzi resumed his duties as the Mayor of the Town of Miami Lakes.
Monday, April 27, 2015: The Town of Miami Lakes and Mayor Wayne Slaton decided to not appeal the Third District Court of Appeal ruling.
Mayor Wayne Slaton's statement:
"The circumstances bringing the town to the present condition, are not of our doing. We are here because both the Governor and the Supreme Court specifically and purposely did not reinstate the former mayor back into office.
The Supreme Courts’ ruling specifically stated “During Petitioner’s suspension, the Town held a special election for mayor in accordance with the requirements of its charter. The permanent replacement mayor assumed office on October 8, 2013, and the new mayor’s term will run until the next regularly scheduled election in November 2016.”
The Court further stated, “that it was not suggesting that the Governor is required to reinstate Petitioner to his former municipal office, which has been filled by operation of a special election in accordance with the Town’s Charter.” The Supreme Court ordered the Governor to merely revoke the suspension.
In compliance with the Supreme Courts’ ruling, the Governor issued a two section Executive Order. Section 1. Revoked the suspension; Section 2. In accordance with the Orders of the Supreme Court, this Order does not reinstate him back to the office of Mayor
On December 22nd, 2014, the Town of Miami Lakes had no authority to reinstate the former mayor, which brings us back to the present. Realizing that the town did not have the authority, the former mayor chose to sue the town, the mayor and the clerk, asking a court to reinstate him.
The Third District Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the former mayor. They did not find that the town Charter was unconstitutional, but rather chose to interpret it differently. They have issued a stay to their ruling pending potential appeal.
So here we are…The lower courts say reinstate. The Governor and the Supreme Court clearly suggest he should not be reinstated.
I am confident and comfortable with the Governors’ and the Supreme Court’s ruling and that they both said precisely what they meant. There are many that want the Supreme Court to hear this case.
However, getting an appeal to the Supreme Court is not an easy or a quick process. It is not inconceivable that the process could take a year or more.
There will be an election for mayor this coming year 2016.
Therefore, I am instructing my attorney to issue the appropriate document to the Third District Court of Appeal, informing them that I will not be appealing their ruling. And I am recommending that the Town do the same.
I want to thank my attorneys and the town administration for their excellent work during this process.
Specifically, I want to commend the Town Council for their continued diligent work, leadership and support of all our shared accomplishments. Despite a challenging year and a half, we came together as a team and kept the town moving forward.
Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Co put it best when he said, “coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
Finally, I want to thank my wife and daughter, and all our friends, for helping me to succeed.
It has been an honor, once again, to lead this town as your Mayor. Thank you all for your continued support."
Mayor, Town of Miami Lakes
Notice of Intention to Take No Further Action and Request to Delay Issuance of Mandate
Third District Court of Appeal Order April 24, 2015
To View webcast version of the April 22 hearing, click here
Appellant's Motion for Review of Denial of Extended Stay April 21, 2015
Appellant-Town of Miami Lakes' Notice of Adoption of Appellant-Wayne Slaton's Reply Brief April 20, 2015
Appendix to Reply Brief of Appellant-Wayne Slaton April 20, 2015
Reply Brief of Appellant-Wayne Slaton April 20, 2015
Appellees' Answer Brief April 16, 2015
Initial Brief of Appellant-Miami Lakes April 8, 2015
Initial Brief of Appellant-Wayne Slaton April 8, 2015
Third District Court of Appeal April 2, 2015 Order
Notice of Appeal-Town March 31, 2015
Judge's March 31, 2015 Order
Transcript of March 18, 2015 hearing
To view the Town Charter, please Click here
United States of America v. MICHAEL A. PIZZI and RICHARD F. CANDIA
On August 6, 2013 Mayor Michael Pizzi was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit extortion...see documents.
On August 6, 2013, the State of Florida, Office of the Governor issued Executive Order number 13-217 suspending Michael Pizzi as Mayor of Miami Lakes...see documents.
On October 1, 2013, a special election was held and Wayne Slaton was voted into office as mayor.
On October 25, 2013 Michael Pizzi pleaded not guilty in federal court.
On August 14, 2014 Michael Pizzi was exonerated and found not guilty on all charges.
Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. vs. Rick Scott, Governor
On August 21, 2014, Michael Pizzi sues Governor Rick Scott in a bid to reclaim the mayor's office.
On August 21, 2014, PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS DIRECTING GOVERNOR TO FORTHWITH REVOKE ORDER OF SUSPENSION UPON ACQUITTAL OF ALL CHARGES FORMING THE BASIS FOR THE EXECUTIVE SUSPENSION OF PUBLIC OFFICIAL is filed...see documents.
On August 21, 2014, petition is appended.
On August 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of Florida acknowledges case number SC14-1634 as a new case...see documents.
On August 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of Florida has designated case SC14-1634 as a high profile case...see documents.
On August 26, 2014, petitioner Michael Pizzi has filed a motion to expedite...see documents.
On August 26, 2014, Governor Rick Scott issues a response to petition for writ of mandamus as filed by petitioner Michael Pizzi...see documents.
On August 26, 2014, the response is appended.
On August 26, 2014, a notice for appearance is filed by Governor Rick Scott.
On August 26, 2014, a response is filed to petitioner's motion to expedite for consideration of petitioner for writ of mandamus...see documents.
On August 28, 2014, a reply to the above response is filed by Michael Pizzi...see documents.
On August 28, 2014, a notice for appearance is filed by Michael Pizzi...see documents.
On August 29, 2014, a motion to file for Amicus Curiae is filed by the Town of Miami Lakes...see documents.
On September 2, 2014, a Certificate of Service (AMD) is filed by The Town of Miami Lakes by Raul Gastesi, filed as corrected Certificate of Service.
On September 2, 2014, a response by the petitioner is filed in opposition to the Town's motion for leave to file Amicus Curiae brief...see documents.
On September 4, 2014, Governor Rick Scott files a response to Town of Miami Lakes' Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief...see documents.
On September 5, 2014, the Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief filed by the Town of Miami Lakes, Florida is hereby granted and they are allowed to file brief only in support of respondent. The brief by the above referenced amicus curiae shall be served pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.370(c)...see documents.
On September 8, 2014, a motion is filed by the Town of Miami Lakes for clarification of due date of Amicus Curiae brief...see documents.
On September 8, 2014, the petitioner's response is filed in opposition to the Town's motion for clarification of due date of Amicus Curiae brief...see documents.
On September 10, 2014, Petitioner's Motion to Expedite Consideration of Petition for Writ of Mandamus Directing Governor to Forthwith Revoke Order of Suspension Upon Acquittal of All Charges Forming the Basis for the Executive Suspension of Public Official is hereby granted...see documents.
On September 10, 2014, The Motion for Clarification of Due Date of Amicus Curiae Brief filed by the Town of Miami Lakes, Florida is hereby denied...see documents.
On September 10, 2014, FILED AS MOTION TO DEEM AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF AS TIMELY FILED...see documents.
On September 10, 2014, Governor Rick Scott filed AS AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF THE TOWN OF MIAMI LAKES IN SUPPORT OF THE POSITION OF THE RESPONDENT **9/12/14: STRICKEN**...see documents.
On September 10, 2014, PETITIONER' S RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO TOWN' S MOTION TO DEEM AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF AS TIMELY FILED...see documents.
On September 12, 2014, The Motion to Deem Amicus Curiae Brief as Timely Filed is hereby denied. The Amicus Curiae Brief of the Town of Miami Lakes In Support of the Position of the Respondent, Governor Rick Scott, filed with this Court on September 10, 2014, is hereby stricken...see documents.
On September 29, 2014, the Court has determined that the petition demonstrates a preliminary basis for relief, this order is being issued to provide Governor Rick Scott with the opportunity to show cause on the narrow issue of why Executive Order 2013-217 should not be revoked, pursuant to section 112.51(6), Florida Statutes (2013). A response from the Governor is warranted in this matter in light of the jury's verdict, on August 14, 2014, acquitting Michael A. Pizzi, Jr., of all federal felony charges. This Court is not, however, suggesting that Governor Scott is required to order that Petitioner Pizzi be reinstated to his former municipal office, which has been filled by operation of a special election in accordance with the Charter of the Town of Miami Lakes, Florida. This Court requests that the Governor file his response on or before October 14, 2014, why the petition should not be granted. Petitioner Pizzi may serve his response, if any, on or before October 24, 2014...see documents.
On October 14, 2014, RESPONSE TO COURT'S REQUEST TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE PETITION SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED was filed by Governor Rick Scott...see documents.
On October 15, 2014, PETITIONER'S REPLY TO THE GOVERNOR'S RESPONSE TO COURT'S REQUEST TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE PETITION SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED was filed...see documents.
On December 22, 2014, in light of the Governor's duties set forth in section 112.51, Florida Statutes, and under article IV, section 7, Florida Constitution, the petition for writ of mandamus is hereby granted. However, because we believe that the Governor will fully comply with this order, by forthwith revoking Executive Order Number 2013-217, we withhold issuance of the writ until January 2, 2015. It is so ordered...see documents.
On December 22, 2014, the Supreme Court issued an order stating that the Governor is required to revoke the order authorizing Pizzi's suspension, which was issued at the time of his arrest.
On December 22, 2014, Michael Pizzi's suspension was lifted by Governor Rick Scott in Executive Order 14-327. EO 14-327 also states that this order does not reinstate Michael Pizzi into office as Mayor....see documents.
On December 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM, A Request for Resumption of Mayoral Responsibilities was sent to the Town Manager, Alex Rey and to the Town Clerk, Marjorie Tejeda by BENEDICT P. KUEHNE.
On December 23, 2014 at 4:01 PM, A Request for Payment of Legal Fees Due Mayor Pizzi for Supreme Court Litigation was sent to the Town Manager, Alex Rey and to the Town Clerk, Marjorie Tejeda by BENEDICT P. KUEHNE.
On December 23, 2014 at 4:09 PM, A Request for Back Pay & Emoluments of Office was sent to the Town Manager, Alex Rey and to the Town Clerk, Marjorie Tejeda by BENEDICT P. KUEHNE
MICHAEL A. PIZZI, JR., and MARY COLLINS v. TOWN OF MIAMI LAKES, FLORIDA, WAYNE SLATON, and MARJORIE TEJEDA-CASTILLO
On January 7, 2015, Michael Pizzi's lawsuit vs. Town of Miami Lakes, Mayor Wayne Slaton and Marjorie Castillo-Town Clerk is filed.
On January 14, 2015, a letter was sent to BENEDICT P. KUEHNE by Raul Gastesi enclosed with the check for Michael Pizzi explaining that Michael Pizzi was paid $5,073.19 (after standard deductions were removed) as retroactive pay for payroll/salary, car allowance, expense allowance, health insurance, cellular cost, and monthly iPad cost for the period of August 6, 2013 to October 3, 2013.
On January 27, 2015, Defendant Marjorie Tejeda-Castillo, in her official capacity as Town Clerk for the Town of Miami Lakes, respectfully moves to dismiss Plaintiffs Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. and Mary Collins's Verified Complaint under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.140(b).
On January 27, 2015, Mayor Wayne Slaton ("Mayor Slaton"), respectfully moves to dismiss Plaintiffs Michael A. Pizzi and Mary Collins' Verified Complaint, pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.140(b)(6), and requests alternative relief...
On January 27, 2015, the Defendant, TOWN OF MIAMI LAKES (hereinafter, "MIAMI LAKES"), by and through its undersigned attorneys, moves to dismiss Plaintiffs' Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. (hereinafter, "PIZZI") and Mary Collins (hereinafter, "COLLINS") Verified Complaint...
On February 13, 2015,
Order of Dismissal
On March 9, 2015,
Plantiffs' Consolidated Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgement and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgement
On March 11, 2015,
Mayor Wayne Slaton_s Verified Response in Opposition to Plantiffs_ Cross-Motion for Summary Judgement
On March 11, 2015,
Town of Miami Lakes' Response in Opposition to Plantiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment
November 2016: The next regularly scheduled election and current mayor's term expires.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
On March 3, the Town Council approved $200,000 to pay for what in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Case, Michael A. Pizzi, Jr. vs The Town of Miami Lakes?
The $200,000 will be used to pay the first bill from Akerman, LLP and any additional expenses. The funds will be taken out of reserve accounts, and not the Town's operating budget. The total amount allocated is less than 5 percent of the Town's reserves. We hope we will not be forced to use it all, but we have a responsibility and an obligation to defend challenges being raised regarding our Town Charter and to ensure the integrity of the municipality and its government moving forward.
How much has the Town spent so far in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Case?
Gastesi & Associates, P.A., who is defending the Town of Miami Lakes- $42,808.45
Akerman, LLP, who is defending Mayor Wayne Slaton- $106,577.50
Gelber Schachter & Greenberg, P.A., who was defending Town Clerk Marjorie Tejeda-Castillo- $24,675.00 (As of Feb. 13, 2014, the Town Clerk as dismissed from the lawsuit)
If Governor Rick Scott’s revocation of Mayor Michael Pizzi’s temporary suspension is not legally sufficient to restore Pizzi’s authority, why did the Town Council approve spending up to $50,000 of taxpayer dollars to hire a law firm and file an Amicus Brief with the Florida Supreme Court opposing this revocation?
With a legal question that concerns our Town Charter-the most important legal document of our Town- it is an obligation that our voice be part of the conversation and for the Town to take a position. You can reference Orders from the Supreme Court and Governor where they refer to the Town Charter.
Although Section 2.5(a) of the Miami Lakes Town Charter specifies when and/or how the office of a Councilmember becomes vacant, the Charter does NOT specify when and/or how the office of Mayor becomes “vacant.” Therefore, why does Town Attorney Raul Gastesi advise on spending taxpayer dollars to defend a provision that does NOT exist in the Charter?
Please see excerpts below taken directly from the Town Charter.
Defines the Council and Councilmember to include the Mayor:
Section 2.1. - Town Council.
There shall be a Town Council (the "Council") vested with all legislative powers of the Town. The Council shall consist of the Mayor and six members, four Residential Councilmembers and two At-large Councilmembers as described below ("Councilmembers"). References in this Charter to the Council and/or Councilmembers shall include the Mayor unless the context dictates otherwise.
Section 2.5 Vacancies; Forfeiture of Office; Filling of Vacancies.
(a) Vacancies. The office of a Councilmember shall become vacant upon his/her death, resignation, disability, suspension or removal from office in any manner authorized by law, or by forfeiture of his/her office.
Specifies process for filling Mayor’s seat:
Section (c) iii Filling Vacancies of the Town Charter included in Section 2.5
iv) If the Mayor’s position becomes vacant and six months or more remain in the unexpired term, a special election shall be held for the election of a new Mayor within 90 calendar days following the occurrence of the vacancy. Pending the election, the office of Mayor shall be filled by the Vice-Mayor. The Council shall then appoint a new Vice-Mayor. No temporary Council appointment shall be made.