Case closed: Miami-Dade ethics commission dismisses complaints against Dan Gelber

Watchdog agency concluded accusations against Miami Beach mayor “not legally sufficient”

Dan Gelber and Ocean Drive (Getty)
Dan Gelber and Ocean Drive (Getty)

A public corruption watchdog agency is taking a pass on ethics complaints filed against Miami Beach’s top elected official.

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust on Wednesday dismissed two identical complaints against Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, concluding the allegations were “not legally sufficient,” according to a press release.

Gelber could not be immediately reached for comment. In a previous statement, the mayor said the allegations had no merit.

Last month, then-mayoral candidate Ronnie Eith and another unnamed city resident filed separate complaints making similar allegations against Gelber in connection with a controversial Sept. 13 Zoom call the mayor participated in. Gelber, Miami Beach City Manager Alina Hudak and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine addressed a group that included local developers about submitting plans to redevelop Ocean Drive.

In a nearly 10-minute snippet of the call that was leaked to the media, Levine is heard telling the group that they needed to form a political action committee that would raise money for city commissioners who back Gelber’s agenda for revamping Ocean Drive, an iconic street plagued with crime and mayhem in recent years.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Gelber told the group that he would be willing to support ballot measures for increasing height and density requirements in the Art Deco Entertainment District, “even if it is not particularly popular,” according to the audio.

In his ethics complaint, Eith claimed Gelber violated a city ordinance that prohibits elected officials from directly or indirectly raising campaign contributions provided by developers with business pending before the city. While Gelber did not discuss political donations, his presence alone was enough to break the city law, Eith alleged.

According to the complaint, attendees included Turnberry Associates CEO Jackie Soffer, Fryd Properties President Jonathan Fryd, Comras Company President and CEO Michael Comras, Fontainebleau Development President and COO Philip Goldfarb, Nakash Holdings Vice President Ariel Nakash, and developers Michael Shvo and Robert Finvarb.

Gelber easily won re-election on Nov. 2.