MIAMI – Another businessman accuses the commissioner of Miami, Joe Carollo, of abusing his power.
Esther Alonso doesn’t want the city to turn Virginia Key, enjoyed by nature lovers who rented paddle boards, kayaks and bikes from her business, into a homeless camp.
Surveillance video shows when police officers arrived at the Virginia Key Outdoor Center on Friday afternoon to lock it down and threaten Alonso.
“If you refuse to sign this form, I have to take you to jail, physically,” said a Miami police officer.
Alonso said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It was outrageous to her that a police officer would threaten to take someone to jail for refusing to sign a form.
Officers were with two Miami Office of Code Enforcement inspectors who accused her of operating without a certificate of occupancy and owing more than $140,000 in past due rent.
Alonso, a tenant from the city of Miami, denied the allegations.
“I sent checks in the mail,” Alonso said, adding that they seemed to have “disappeared” and that, as a Cuban-American, she was able to quickly recognize the “abuse of power.”
Carollo is spearheading a plan to build tiny houses on city property in Virginia Key to move homeless people out of urban areas. In July, commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the pilot program. Commissioners Ken Russell and Manolo Reyes were the dissenting votes.
Before Alonso told him it was obvious Carollo was abusing his power over city employees, the commissioner faced similar allegations that led to lawsuits.
Ball and Chain Little Havana nightclub owner Bill Fuller accused Carollo of abusing his power to punish him for supporting his political opponent.
Former Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo also accused Carollo of misusing Miami Police Department resources “to further” his personal agendas.
This Week in South Florida: August 7th
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