No conflict found in pending Miami Beach vote

State ethics commission dismisses as 'speculative' a potential benefit to the mayor

Feb.February 27, 2016 02:15 PM

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

The Florida Commission on Ethics determined that Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has no conflict of interest in voting on a proposed height increase for a mixed-use development next door to property the mayor owns.

The developer, Deco Capital LLC, is seeking a city exception to rules limiting the height of the mixed-use project to 40 feet.

Levine and other city commissioners will vote March 9 on the developer’s proposal to build up to 90 feet high. If the city commissioners approve the increased height limit, the city’s land-use board will review it.

Miami Beach City Attorney Raul Aguila opined that the mayor faced no conflict of interest in voting on the height-limit proposal. But Aguila also solicited the opinion of the state ethics commission and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust. The county ethics commission has not yet responded.

In a prepared statement, C. Christopher Anderson III, deputy executive director of the state ethics commission, dismissed as “speculative” the potential for Mayor Levine’s property at Sunset Harbour to appreciate because of an increase in the building-height limit next door.

Anderson wrote, “It appears that any gain or loss which would inure to the mayor from the ordinance is remote and speculative [uncertain], and, thus, that he will not be presented with a voting conflict regarding the ordinance.”  [Miami Herald]  Mike Seemuth

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