The Real Deal Miami

Dade property appraiser sues for independence

Carlos Lopez-Cantera wants a judge to clarify whether he's subject to county rule
August 22, 2013 01:07PM



Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera wants a clear verdict on the independence of his office, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Lopez-Cantera’s lawyers, Dan Gelber and Jerry Greenberg, argue in the suit that voters intended for an independent property appraiser “who would derive authority not from the whims of politicians or administrators, but directly from the people of Miami-Dade County.”

Lopez-Cantera is asking the Miami-Dade Circuit Court to rule on how much control, if any, county commissioners and Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration have over the property appraiser’s powers.

“The county attorney has refused to recognize the will of the voters when, in 2008, they overwhelmingly voted to make the county property appraiser an independent, constitutional officer,” Lopez-Cantera told the Miami Herald.

County Attorney Robert Cuevas has said that the property appraiser is essentially an elected department head with some additional powers, thought not as many entitled to constitutional officers.

Because Miami-Dade voters did not expressly vote on whether the property appraiser would be a constitutional officer or an elected department head, Lopez-Cantera contends the court needs to weigh in on the question. [Miami Herald]Emily Schmall