Julio Martinez, a former interim mayor in Hialeah, who is also trying to take the mayor's seat back from current Mayor Carlos Hernandez in November, released video on Thursday that he says shows all seven members together in the mayor's office two hours before the official council meeting started. Martinez spoke about the allegations, while Hernandez adamantly denied any violation of the Sunshine Law.
Serious allegations were being made on Thursday being made against the seven members of the Hialeah City Council.
The Sunshine Law lays out the rules elected officials across Florida must follow, and it's all designed to make sure the voters know what is going on. Basically everything must be done in public, no huddling behind closed doors.
Julio Martinez, a former interim mayor in Hialeah, who is also trying to take the mayor's seat back from current Mayor Carlos Hernandez in November, released video on Thursday that he says shows all seven members together in the mayor's office two hours before the official council meeting started.
The council president, Isis Garcia-Martinez, and other council members are seen coming out of the mayor's office, and together they walk to the elevator to head to the council chambers and begin that night's budget session.
Martinez believes they were discussing the budget behind closed doors.
Julio Martinez said: "A budget under their arms and meeting with someone who is going to vote that night three minutes before they are getting in a elevator what were they discussing. I lived in Hialeah before Mr. Hernandez was born I served in Vietnam and it angers me to have to put up with this nonsense my city is being destroyed by delinquents."
But current Mayor Carlos Hernandez stated, "I am a strong mayor. I don't vote so I have the right to meet with my council members individually. They have the right to meet with my chief of staff, to meet with the budget director. "
Current Mayor Carlos Hernandez adamantly denies any violation of the Sunshine law. On Thursday afternoon, he told NBC 6 while the video shows the council members coming and going, out of camera view he says the members never met together, that individually they were meeting with him,the city attorney, budget director,other staff, all things the law clearly allows.
Hernandez says, "They do come here to ask questions every Tuesday when we have a council meeting."
Hernandez says all of this is being orchestrated by former political opponent and former Mayor Raul Martinez.
"This is a group of people who are very desperate right now," he stated.
But Julio Martinez and his lawyer say once the official meeting started on Sept. 9 the council voted 7 to nothing and approved a more than $200 million budget in 17 minutes.
Julio Martinez says, "What I suggested to those are not elected to please go to the state attorney's office an clean their names because they were acting under orders. I don't blame them at all and they were doing what they were told to do. "
The mayor also says Martinez used the section of the Sunshine Law that enables voters, the public and media to obtain information. But the mayor says Martinez's intact was to use the information for dirty politics.
Martinez and other residents say they will take the video to the state attorney.