MIAMI, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order today suspending Jose Angel Martinez from his position as District 11 County Commissioner in Miami-Dade County.
Martinez, 64, is a veteran Miami-Dade County commissioner and retired police lieutenant. He was charged with criminal corruption, unlawful compensation, and conspiracy to commit illegal compensation in late August by state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
WANTED TO BE SHERIFF
Martinez surrendered amid the criminal charges. The arrest warrant in the case uncovered that he is accused of accepting $15,000 in exchange for sponsoring a local law to help a shopping plaza that was riddled with code violations.
Martinez released a statement on his pending charges which described him as the “front runner” for Miami-Dade’s 2024 race for sheriff, and noted that he is a contender to be the commission’s next chair – a position he held twice during his first tenure on the commission.
The violations constitute felonies in the second and third degree, and according to Executive Order 22-215 (Executive Order of Suspension), it is in the best interest of the residents of Miami-Dade County that Martinez be immediately suspended from public office.
The governor will appoint a new commissioner to fill the District 11 seat in the coming weeks. In the past seven weeks, DeSantis suspended five other public officers including former Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, and four members of the Broward County School Board.
After an arrest, Florida's governor can suspend an elected official, but it’s not required. The last time a governor suspended a Miami-Dade commissioner was when former Governor Jeb Bush removed Miriam Alonso, a Miami-Dade commissioner from District 12 in 2002. Alonso was accused of misusing campaign and county funds.