Francis Suarez faces ethics probe over F1, World Cup VIP invites

Miami mayor hung out with hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin at Miami Grand Prix

State Ethics Board Probes Francis Suarez VIP Access
From left: Ken Griffin, David Beckham and Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty)

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez could be facing another ethics inquiry. 

The potential probe would examine his access to VIP events hosted by billionaire Ken Griffin and Inter Miami CF co-owner David Beckham. Griffin and Beckham have major real estate development projects in Miami requiring city approvals. 

The Florida Commission on Ethics is reviewing a complaint requesting an investigation into whether Suarez paid for tickets to attend exclusive sections of high-profile sporting events such as Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Miami Herald reported. However, the state ethics commission has not formally opened a probe.

Suarez, who failed to make it to the first debate stage of 2024 Republican presidential contenders, is already under investigation by the Miami-Dade ethics commission and state attorney’s office for a $10,000-a-month private consulting gig with embattled developer Rishi Kapoor’s former company, Location Ventures. The FBI is also conducting a public corruption probe into Suarez and Kapoor. 

The recent state ethics complaint noted that Suarez and his wife were invited by Griffin to attend the billionaire’s VIP party during the Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens in May. The tickets were valued at $30,000

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Suarez and Griffin claim the mayor reimbursed the Citadel hedge fund firm founder, but neither has provided proof, the Miami Herald reported. 

Under Florida ethics law, Griffin is barred from gifting officials anything worth more than $100 because Citadel hired lobbyists to represent multiple projects requiring city approvals. The projects include a planned $1 billion office tower in Brickell that will be Citadel’s new headquarters. Suarez is also required by law to disclose any gifts over $100. 

The ethics complaint also asks state investigators to determine if Suarez paid for VIP access to attend last year’s World Cup where the mayor was photographed with Beckham, the retired soccer star who co-owns Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami CF. 

Beckham and his partner, technology company mogul Jorge Mas, are also the lead principals in Miami Freedom Park, a massive mixed-use project anchored by a new soccer stadium on a city-owned former golf course near Miami International Airport. 

– Francisco Alvarado