Ethics Panel Sues Hialeah Mayor Who Tried to Pay $4,000 Fine With Pennies, Nickels

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust has sued a Miami-area mayor who tried to pay a $4,000 fine with 28 buckets filled with pennies and nickels.

The commission also doubled the fine imposed on Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, saying he intentionally broke the rules by sending them 360,000 coins on Nov. 6 even though he knew the panel only accepts checks.

"We deem his attempt to send $4,000 in pennies or coins to not be a reasonable attempt to pay this and not something that I think the public should have to pay our staff to count the money and to deal with it," said Joseph Centorino, Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.

According to a statement from the commission, a hearing on the complaint filed in small claims court is scheduled Dec. 9.

"We tried to pay. They actually stamped it that we were there to pay. They refused to take the money, U.S. currency, so let's see what happens now in a real court. We're out from the circus and now in a real court," Mayor Hernandez said.

"We have taken the only other avenue we have and that is to file a lawsuit in court and we will expect to receive the funds through the legal," Centorino said.

The commission ruled in July that Hernandez lied about his charge of usurious interest rates on a $180,000 loan to a jewelry salesman now jailed for a pyramid scheme.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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