Gov. Suspends Boynton Beach Mayor During Bribery Investigation

The mayor is facing charges of bribery, obstructing a criminal investigation and resisting an officer.

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    Gov. Rick Scott suspended Boynton Beach Mayor Jose Angel Rodriguez Friday after he was arrested Thursday on bribery charges, the Palm Beach Post reported.

    The former mayor will be suspended "until a further executive order is issued, or as otherwise provided by law," according to the newspaper.

    Rodriguez is accused of using his political position to hamper a child-abuse investigation against him, according to the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.

    City Attorney James Chernof, who notified Gov. Scott of the arrest, said that the next step for the city commission is to appoint someone to fill his seat or to organize a special election, the Post reported.

    "This is totally out of line," Rodriguez said in an email to the Post. "No good deed goes unpunished. These charges are ridiculous and are a result of challenging the status quo in police and government. My name will be vindicated in court."

    Rodriguez, 49, surrended to police on Thursday and faces charges of bribery, obstructing a criminal investigation and resisting an officer. He was released the same night on $8,000 bond. The alleged crimes could give him up to 17 years in prison, according to the State Attorney's Office.
     
    "The allegations reflect the opposite of public service," State Attorney Michael McAuliffe said in a statement. "The message is simple – elected officials must honor the requirement and expectation that they serve the public good and not their own private interests."

    Calls and emails to Rodriguez's office for comment by NBC Miami Friday weren't immediately returned.
       
    According to an arrest report, Rodriguez's wife, 39-year-old Sarah Marquez, told police in August that she feared for her safety and that Rodriguez had committed child and domestic abuse..
       
    Rodriguez is accused of contacting officials to end the investigation by the Department of Children and Families, according to the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.
     
    "It is your job to protect the mayor and commission and I'm not feeling protected," Interim City Manager Lori LaVerriere quoted Rodriguez as telling her, according to the arrest report.
     
    Police Chief Matthew Immler told police that Rodriguez called him screaming and ordered him to "stop pursuing the criminal investigation," the arrest report said.
     
    "Chief Immler stated that there was no doubt that Mayor Jose Rodriguez was using his position as Mayor to intimidate him and the police department into stopping the investigation of the mayor," the report said.
     
    Rodriguez has been the mayor of Boynton Beach since March of 2010. He could be suspended from office while the case is pending, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
       
    "I'll clear my name in court, no doubt about it. It's all BS. It's just ridiculous," Rodriguez told the Sentinel after posting bond.