North Miami Mayor Vows To Return Tainted Campaign Donations - NBC 6 South Florida

North Miami Mayor Vows To Return Tainted Campaign Donations

Andre Pierre says he is not part of continuing bribery probe -- but doesn't know if he's been recorded by investigators



    Controversial North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre says he isn't part of the bribery investigation that saw his campaign manager and nephew arrested. (Published Saturday, April 16, 2011)

    Controversial North Miami Andre Pierre says he will return any campaign contributions tied to an ongoing bribery investigation that lead to the arrest of his campaign manager and nephew, Richard Brutus, last month.

    Brutus is charged with taking $4,000 for getting a key vote delayed by the North Miami city commission in January. But Mayor Pierre says he is not part of the investigation and has not been contacted by FDLE, FBI, police or state prosecutors.

    Brutus was videotaped by FDLE using a cooperating defendant, a term usually applied to someone who has been arrested or threatened with arrest and agrees to assist investigators.

    Pierre cannot rule out the possibility that he's been recorded surreptitiously by investigators as they did with his campaign manager.

    “I have no idea [whether or not I've been recorded],” he said while making visits to single family homes in North Miami. “But you have to understand, once you become a public official, you're constantly -- whatever you do is analyzed and scrutinized. So I'm not sure if I'm on videotape or audio tape. But I can tell you that I have been -- my integrity speaks for itself. I'm very ethical.”

    In advance of the May 10th election, Mayor Pierre was busy telling voters why they should re-elect him.

    “Crime is the lowest since 1984,” he told one dedicated voter at her front doorstep, switching fluidly between Creole and English. "They're gonna help you modify your loan," he told another.

    He was also busy explaining whether or not he's part of a bribery investigation.

    Several sources have told NBCMiami that fake campaign contributions were planted by police on City Commissioner Scott Galvin's campaign donor list, with his cooperation, during a bribery sting.

    The same contributions also show up on the mayor's campaign donor list. In fact, six of them were identical, with several more linked by address or corporation. All are tied to North Miami businessman Shlomo Chelminsky.

    Pierre had an explanation ready.

    "Well, as you know, every time a candidate go out there, you know, we're always begging," he said. "I called everyone that I can and asked for campaign contributions."

    Pierre says he will return contributions linked to the bribery investigation and Chelminsky.

    "Yes. Yes. And that's something that we are looking into,” he said. “My CPA is going look at it. If we received any contribution from Mr. Chelminsky, we'll be more than glad to return the checks to him."