Miami Beach building director under investigation

State attorney is looking into whether building director accepted a gift from a hotel

Miami Beach City Hall and Mariano Fernandez
Miami Beach City Hall and Mariano Fernandez

Miami Beach’s building director may be in hot water.

Mariano Fernandez is on administrative leave without pay as the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office looks into whether he accepted a gift from a hotel that received approvals from the city’s building department, according to the Miami Herald.

Earlier this year, City Manager Jimmy Morales received an anonymous complaint with the allegations. Miami Beach police notified the state attorney. City employees aren’t allowed to accept gifts with any people or companies that conduct business with the city or are seeking approvals, with some exceptions.

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As part of the investigation into Fernandez, some employees have been subpoenaed, according to the newspaper.

Fernandez has led the building department since 2013. The allegation evokes memories of past scandals, including the convictions of three building department employees who took bribes from Miami Beach developer Michael Stern – unrelated to the New York developer – in 2008.

Two years later, ex-building director Cynthia Curry was investigated after her company billed Miami-Dade County twice for work tied to the airport’s expansion. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis