New Miami Lakes Mayor Ceasar Mestre Sends Open Letter to Residents Following Bribery Scandal

New Miami Lakes mayor says city will continue working to serve residents.

By Alexandra Leon
|  Friday, Aug 9, 2013  |  Updated 5:02 PM EDT
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RAW VIDEO: Miami Lakes, Sweetwater Mayors Taken to Court By FBI,

Manuel Marono (L) and Michael Pizzi (R)

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Sweetwater Mayor Removed as Head of Florida League of Cities

Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono has been removed as the head of the Florida League of Cities following bribery allegations, and federal officials are now saying Marono was trying to get other mayors in on the scheme. NBC 6's Willard Shepard has the story.

RAW VIDEO: Miami Lakes, Sweetwater Mayors Taken to Court By FBI

Helicopter footage shows Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono being taken to court by FBI agents.
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New Miami Lakes Mayor Ceasar Mestre reached out to residents Thursday in an open letter following the arrest of Mayor Michael Pizzi.

Pizzi, 51, along with Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono, 41, was arrested Tuesday on allegations of bribery.

"We were all surprised and saddened by the news that our Mayor, Michael Pizzi, was arrested on Tuesday morning, as a result of a Federal Task Force investigation. Our prayers go out to him and his family," Mestre said in the letter.

Pizzi, who also served as Medley's town attorney, was suspended by Gov. Rick Scott following his arrest. He was later released on $50,000 bond.

Marono was removed as head of the Florida League of Cities following the arrest. He has been released on $250,000 bond.

Two lobbyists, Jorge Forte and Richard Candia, are also facing charges related to the mayors' arrests. Authorities say Candia introduced Pizzi to undercover FBI agents to help implement the plan that paid the mayors thousands of dollars in bribes under a federal grant scheme.

Pizzi is accused of backdating documents, misleading undercover agents and receiving cash payoffs in carrying out the scheme.

Mestre assured residents that the town council would continue to serve residents' best interests in his letter.

"We are united and committed to continue providing our residents with the best quality of life," he wrote.

The new mayor will hold open office hours Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Miami Lakes Town Hall at 6601 Main Street, Miami Lakes. For more information, call 305-364-6100 or visit

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